The World Games

Competitions at the highest level in a multitude of diverse, popular and spectacular sports make up the mainstay of The World Games. Sports practiced on land, in the air, in and on the water, all concur in the pursuit of "Faster, Higher, Stronger". 

Every 4 years, in the years following the Summer Olympic Games, the world’s best athletes in sports and disciplines that are not part of the Olympic Games unite in their common search for excellence during The World Games. As the main event in the competition calendar and as a highly visible stage for top athletes to perform on, The World Games generate worldwide exposure for the participating sports and athletes alike.

Since 1981, The World Games provide a unique setting for thousands of athletes from different sports and countries to join in a celebration of unity and friendship across all boundaries. The World Games are the main event for all these athletes – one marked by sporting exploits as well as by camaraderie.

The World Games are staged over a period of 11 days. They start with the Opening Ceremony and conclude with the Closing Ceremony. Their organization is entrusted by the IWGA to a Local Organizing Committee formed by the host city and entities such as the regional and national governments, the National Olympic Committee and other sporting authorities.

While the International Olympic Committee grants its support to all editions of The World Games, and while the IWGA explicitly accepts and adheres to all principles in the Olympic Charter, the multi-sport games differ in one important aspect from the Olympics. The host is never required to build facilities or extend upon available infrastructure for the sake of The World Games alone. Ideally, the event is to be staged at existing venues, in appropriately sized facilities that have been planned or built regardless of the candidate host bidding for the event. This condition influences the composition of The World Games program. Not all sports feature necessarily on every edition. Existing infratsructure and venues in and around the host city are the determining factor in the selection of  sports to the Official Sports Program. 

The conduct of competitions as well as ceremonies is subject to the Rules of The World Games, the directives for the organization and the staging of the event. Jointly with the hosts, IWGA puts particular emphasis on publicizing and promoting the sports of its Member Federations to the public at large and to the media.


The principal statutory aims of the International World Games Association are

  • to develop the popularity of the sports that are governed by its Member Federations,
  • to improve their prominence through excellent sporting achievements, and
  • to conserve all the traditional values of sport.

To attain these aims, the IWGA 

  • provides at four-year intervals an international top class multi-sport event for the sports, or disciplines of sports, of its Member Federations, and strives to provide the widest possible exposure of the sports to public and media through the World Games concept.

We have the obligation to create the best World Games to show the world of sports the potential and the future of this multi-sports event. We are able to take our event to the next level and to show that we have sports that are of Olympic level. I see the World Games as complementary to the Olympic Movement. IWGA President José Perurena

Safeguarding the diversity in sport is vital to the international culture of the 21st century. Just imagine a world without sports like inline skating, karate, rugby or squash! Unthinkable, you say. And rightfully so: a combined 1.2 billion people around the globe practice them regularly. IWGA Honorary Life President Ron Froehlich