UPDATE – 4:45 a.m., 1/22/2015: The City of Birmingham will be hosting the 2021 World Games, important as its both its 11th edition and its 40th anniversary. It will also be the city’s 150th birthday.
The city is the first in the United States to host the Games since they were founded in 1981 when they took place in Santa Clara, California.
The International World Games Association (IGWA) announced the winning city of the 2021 World Games from Hotel Mövenpick in Lausanne, Switzerland beginning at 4 a.m. CST on Thursday, January 22. The decision, made via secret ballot by the association’s executive committee, was announced shortly after 4:45 a.m. CST. Following the announcement, Birmingham City Council president Johnathan Austin upon taking the podium said, “I think I need to pinch myself… to make sure I’m not dreaming.” Austin continued by recounting part of a conversation from Wednesday evening: “…regardless of who wins, we’re all winners, because now we have relationships, we’re friends with all of the [competing] countries.”
He promised those in attendance at the press conference that “The City of Birmingham will make the World Games 2021 the best World Games that you all have ever seen.”
The following live stream was made available via YouTube for those following from home. There was particular interest in Birmingham, AL; Lima, Peru; and Ufa, Russia — the three finalists for selection.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OI3RmXfz9iM&w=625]
The announcement was made in the city that will now serve as the headquarters for the international, International Olympic Committee (IOC)-recognized association beginning in February. It had been previously based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The IGWA’s relationship with the IOC was further strengthened in November 2014 when recommendation No. 6 (PDF, page 9) was adopted during an Extraordinary Session of the IOC. It was one of 40 recommendations adopted to “shape the future of the Olympic Movement.”
The Birmingham delegation has been in Lausanne for the last few days and used the following video as part of their final presentation on Wednesday.[vimeo https://vimeo.com/117396024 w=623]
The announcement is only the first step in the process for the city. Now that the games have been awarded, contract negotiations begin next week. The member federations of the IGWA will meet in Sochi this April to confirm the decision of the executive committee. Birmingham is currently set to take over the World Games flag on July 30, 2017 — at the end of the upcoming edition in Wroclaw, Poland.
By the way, this is where we point out that American football was added as an invitational sport in 2017 (and that it’s still possible to add baseball for 2021).
Photo: via Johnathan Austin’s Instagram account.