Lahti, FIN 1997

1997 Lahti WorldGames flag at the openingAt the closing ceremony of World Games 1993 in The Hague, the World Games flag was handed to the Mayor of Port Elizabeth in South Africa; however by August 1994, the City Council of Port Elizabeth decided to withdraw from the organization of the World Games following the political change in South Africa. 

In January 1995 the City of Lahti in Finland signed the agreement to organize the World Games 1997. The city took up the demanding task of organizing the World Games event with only two years’ preparation time. The participants of World Games 1997 recall the event as the very compact games with sports venues closely clustered in the city centre. The City of Lahti had reasonable experience in organizing major sport events, but their experience was in winter sport events like skiing; organising a multi-sport event in summer sports was a new challenge. The city established Lahti Happenings, a board to take care of finance and marketing, as well as an Organizing Committee, and appointed two excellent qualified staff members to manage the logistics and the sports venues. The majority of the persons involved in the organization were volunteers who had experience with the Lahti Ski Games, an annual FIS-sanctioned Nordic ski event staged in Lahti.

Lahti lakes and stillnessDue to the compactness of the event, participants were able to meet with other competitors in the city which gave them the feeling of being part of a multi-sport event. Lahti Happenings arranged for the production (Finnish Broadcasting Comp YLE) and the distribution (Trans World International TWI) of the television programmes, which resulted in an excellent television production and a widespread distribution of the daily summaries of the World Games competitions.

In the minds of organizers as well as participants, the World Games 1997 in Lahti will always remain a successful event.


The City

Lahti is a city in the south of Finland, 100 kilometres north-east of the capital Helsinki. The township originates from 1415 and was located on the medieval trade route to Vyborg on the Gulf of Finland. The completion of the railway line from Finland to St. Petersburg in 1870 turned Lahti into a lively station with industrial installations. In 1904 Lahti, by ordinance of Tsar Nicholas II, became a city. Since then, the city grew until 1975 when it reached its current size.



Culture and music Sibelius HallLahti harbours cultural ambitions, with a large congress and concert centre - the Sibelius Hall. Lahti has one of Finland's most widely known symphony orchestras, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra, which performs both classical and popular music, notably concentrating on music by Jean Sibelius. Lahti's greatest educational asset is the highly valued Institute of Design, which is a part of Lahti University of Applied Sciences. The institute has gained international recognition in particular for jewellery and industrial design. Other areas of expertise include metal, woodworking and furniture.



Jewellery inspired by Lahti Ski JumpLahti is best known for its annually held World Cup winter games, the Lahti Ski Games. Ski jumping events of the Lahti Ski Games are part of the Nordic Tournament. As of 2010, it was the only city to have hosted the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships six times, in 1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, and 2001. The Sports Institute of Finland, which is based in Vierumäki near Lahti, is the most versatile centre of sports education in the country. Apart from the World Games in 1997, Lahti hosted the 18th World Masters Athletics Championships in 2009.


The Visuals

Event logo LahtiThe organizing committee started its activities for the event with the design of the event logo. The Lahti logo has no clear connection to any symbols of the City or The World Games. The form, however, is as stylish as the Finnish Lapponia Jewellery. The orange oval with the three gridlines might refer to the globe of the World Games.

The Lahti poster uses the event logo as the focal point of the poster. At the bottom of the poster is the skyline of the City of Lahti with the characteristic high features such as the radio-towers, the town hall and the ski-jump. The fresh green leaves of the trees in the countless forests around Lahti at the bottom completed the elegant poster.

Poster Lahti 1997The graphic designer Osmo Penna was requested to create the mascot for the Lahti event. He felt that a fox with its playful spirits would be a good choice. The fox was athletic enough to perform all the World Games sports, which was a good thing, as the mascot was also used as the pictogram for the participating sports.  To give the fox a Finnish look, the designer gave the mascot the four-cornered hat from Lapland. A local teacher invented the name August for the mascot. The name not only resembles the month in which the event was held, but August is also the name of a clown, the funny man in the theatre and circus.

The program book depicts the Northern lights, a phenomenon which can also be seen in northern Finland. The event logo and the title are almost hidden in the dark sections of the cover, but the mascot August is not missing on the cover of the program.


Programme Sports



Air Sports

Parachuting (6)


Field (3)



Boules Sports



Ten Pin



Dance Sport

Dance Sport (6)






Acrobatic (5)

Aerobic (3)

Trampoline (4)

Tumbling (4)


Duo (6)

Fighting (6)










Roller Sports




Squash (6)

Tug of War


Water Ski

Barefoot (7)



Weightlifting (2)

Invitational Sports







Military pentathlon




Tug of War


2) Part of Olympic IF; Women not on Olympic programme; After particpation in TWG included in Olympic programme
3) Part of Olympic IF; Discipline not on Olympic programme
4) Joined as FIT; Merged later with Gymnastics
5) Joined as IFSA; Merged later with Gymnastics
6) New Member IF of IWGA
7) Member of IWGA; new discipline on TWG programme

1997-Lahti-Program    1997-Lahti-Mascot


Event numbers

Officials Sports
Invitational Sports


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