The road to the Olympic Games seems to go – more and more – through The World Games. Former World Games sport Rugby made it to the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and Karate, Sport Climbing, Surfing and Baseball/Softball will be present in Tokyo 2020. Earlier, The World Games sports Badminton, Triathlon and Taekwondo became Olympic sports in 2000 and Beach Volleyball in 1996. Dance Sport will be on the programme of the Youth Olympics 2018 as well as Karate and Sport Climbing.
However, this is only the beginning. IOC Sports Director Kit McConnell says: “As we look for getting more flexibility into the programme of the Olympic Games in the future, certainly The World Games is one of the areas we are looking to observe, see the sports, see them performed at a very high level and with the best athletes in those sports. Obviously we are looking for sports that bring a real value to the programme.” IWGA President José Perurena stated it clear: “The World Games are a stepping stone to the Olympics.”
Lacrosse will be in The World Games programme for the first time this year. The US Lacrosse Magazine writes in its June issue: “Numerous sports, like badminton, beach volleyball and triathlon, appeared in The World Games before becoming official Olympic sports. The path is clear for a sport like lacrosse, but it will have to compete against the rest of the sports appearing at The World Games — including dance sport, squash, tug of war, sumo and karate.
“[The World Games are] regarded as the Olympics for non-Olympic sports,” said Ron Balls, FIL men’s competition committee chair. “We have to be there, competing with great teams and great play, because there will be IOC members watching those games.” Lacrosse used to be in the programme of the Olympic Games until 1948.
John Liljelund from International Floorball Federation says: “Based on the Olympic Agenda 2020 recommendations, The World Games is the pathway to The Olympic Games. We have a clear possibility to showcase the value and interest of our sport in Wroclaw. The World Games are the biggest achievement Floorball has reached so far, they are our Olympics, and the main tool to reach the Olympic Games!”
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee. The 10th edition of The World Games will be held in Wroclaw, Poland, 20–30 July 2017. More than 3,000 athletes from 31 sports and 111 countries will take part in the Games. Olympic Channel will broadcast The World Games on a 24/7 channel, and agreements to broadcast the Games have so far been made with several countries, including Germany and China.