The People’s Games
The 9th edition of The World Games took place in Cali, Colombia from 25 July to 4 August 2013. There were 26 sports on the official programme. In addition, 5 invitational sports were included. A total of 3,103 athletes (2,730 on the official programme plus 373 in invitational sports) from 91 countries competed in 194 medal events (171/23) for the gold medals of The World Games.
What specially sets the 2013 World Games apart from previous Games was that spectator interest exceeded all expectations. The Local Organising Committee reported that a total of 520,000 tickets had been sold. Dance Sport experienced a world record number of spectators; on the two days of the competition the bullfighting arena, which served as the competition venue, was completely sold out with 18,000 spectators each day. Never before had so many fans come to a Dance Sport tournament. The then IWGA President Ron Froehlich described TWG 2013 as "The People’s Games”. The city of Cali in the province of Valle del Cauca, south-west of Bogotá, has about 2.5 million inhabitants.
Italy won the medal count
The most successful nation in the medal count was Italy with 18 gold medals, 13 silver medals and 13 bronze medals. Russia came second with 17/24/12, ahead of France 16/11/13. The hosts from Colombia were ranked eighth in the medal tally with 8 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals. Especially celebrated was the gold medal of the Salsa pair Avila Molina and Benjumera Merolaba, who come from Cali. The city is considered the world capital of Salsa. Colombia also provided the largest team with 194 athletes. A total of 22 NOCs supported their athletes; never before were there more. Countries like Germany and Russia set up so-called Nation’s Houses as meeting places for their athletes. A total of 25 competition venues were used.
Magalie Rousseau and Marcel Hassemeier won four Golds
The most successful athletes were Marcel Hassemeier, Germany, with 4 golds and 1 silver, and Magalie Rousseau, France, 4 golds. Both of them competed in the Lifesaving competitions. Marcel Hassemeier later became the first-ever IWGA Athlete of the Year. The Athletes of the Day were honoured every evening on the Plaza. Tissot was a partner for this award for the first time.
Beach Handball made its debut in the official sports programme, which ran over ten days of competition. Beach Handball was previously represented as an invitational sport in Duisburg (Germany) in 2005 and in Kaohsiung (Chinese Taipei) in 2009. Bodybuilding, on the other hand, was not in the programme for the first time since 1981. Rugby Sevens gave its farewell in Cali; the discipline became Olympic in 2016. The team from South Africa won the last Rugby Sevens gold at The World Games. Canoe Marathon was represented in Cali as an invitational sport, and will be on the official programme for the first time in 2022 at the eleventh edition of The World Games. The same is the case for Women’s Softball. Wushu (already present in 2009) and Duathlon were also invitational sports and will be represented with this status in Birmingham, Alabama in 2022.
A total of 915 media representatives from 36 countries reported on The World Games 2013. As host broadcaster, the Colombian production company RCN produced the world signal. A total of 100 TV hours of the event were produced; foreign broadcasters used 60 hours of it. TV images from the Games were shown in over 100 countries, including Russia, China and South Africa. The German company Sport Five distributed the TV rights on behalf of the IWGA. For the first time, social media platforms played an important role in spreading news about The World Games. The Local Organising Committee and the IWGA used Facebook and Twitter as media.
Fair Play to the Planet
The official opening in the renovated Pascal Guerro Stadium was performed by Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzón on 25 July 2013. The Opening Ceremony was also attended by IOC President Jacques Rogge and his successor in office Thomas Bach. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos attended the Closing Ceremony, and The World Games 2013 concluded with a big salsa party.
The mascot of the Games was a figure based on a native bird species. A bichofué is a nicely-coloured yellow and brown bird with a dark eye mask. The Cali Local Organising Committee produced a special creative activity for very young children, publishing colouring pages of bichofué on the website.
Part of the legacy of the Games was that The World Games for the first time focused on the theme of environmental protection, under the motto "Fair Play to the Planet", with the Games setting out its own actions to reduce the carbon footprint.