The World Games 2022 (TWG2022) will be a major international multi-sport event, and any event of such a magnitude requires a deep, talented roster of people to put together and ultimately make a success.
Part of that group for The World Games 2022 is those who have been chosen as Honorary Co-Chairs; recognizable Birmingham and Alabama public figures tasked with advancement and amplification of the vision and mission of The World Games 2022 and participation in several events surrounding The Games.
Not only will all Honorary Co-Chairs participate in events like the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, but they will also utilize their various platforms to represent, support and promote the message and mission of The World Games 2022.
So far, the Birmingham Organizing Committee has announced three Honorary Co-Chairs for The World Games 2022.
The first to be announced was Leeds, Ala. native and former NBA MVP Charles Barkley on July 8, 2020.
“I’ve always told anyone who would listen – and even those who wouldn’t – how great the state of Alabama and the Birmingham community are,” Barkley said. “Being able to be a part of an event like The World Games 2022 is another chance to show the world what this community and its people are all about. I’m excited to support this event, and am looking forward to trying my hand at Korfball.”
Barkley, a standout basketball player at Auburn University, went on to have a 16-year, Hall of Fame career in the NBA. During his 16-year career, Barkley was named an NBA All-Star 11 times, captured two Olympic gold medals with Team USA and was named league MVP in 1993.
Next to join the list was world-renowned country music artist and humanitarian Randy Owen.
“I’m so honored to join my fellow outstanding Alabamians – Charles Barkley, Dr. Henry Panion (Artistic Director of The World Games 2022), and those yet to be announced – in helping bring this event to Alabama,” Owen said. “The people in our state have made a tremendous impact on my life and career, and I’m happy to show the world what Alabama is all about. Our people are as diverse as the landscape in our beautiful state. It is my hope that we are able to bring that uniqueness to the forefront and let the light of Alabama shine out into the world.”
A graduate of Jacksonville State University, Owen is best known for his career as the lead singer of Alabama, the Recording Industry Association of America’s Country Music Group of the Century. One of the most successful country music groups in history, Alabama released 21 gold, platinum, and multi-platinum albums, had 43 No. 1 singles, sold more than 75 million records, and earned more than 150 industry awards including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a career spanning more than 50 years.
The third and most recent Honorary Co-Chair to be announced was Birmingham native Vonetta Flowers, an Olympic Bobsled athlete who became the first ever African American to win a Winter Olympic gold medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
“Birmingham is home to me, so being able to help bring an international competition like The World Games 2022 to my home community, a place I love and care for so much, was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Flowers said. “I know what the thrill of winning gold is like, and I can’t wait to see that joy on the faces of those competitors that get to do the same right here in Birmingham.”
Prior to achieving Olympic glory, Flowers graduated from Birmingham’s Jackson-Olin High School and accepted a track and field scholarship to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. There, Flowers became the Blazers’ first ever seven-time All-American and racked up 35 Conference USA titles.
The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers said the Honorary Co-Chairs will be an immense help to promoting the message of The Games and achieving the goals the event has set.
“You’ve got an NBA MVP and two-time Summer Olympic Games champion, a global music icon, and the first African-American to ever win a gold medal in the Winter Olympic Games, “said The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers. “Each of them represents the very best of Alabama and each one are pioneers in their fields. They’ve been extremely valuable to our mission so far and that value will only multiply as we move closer to the Opening Ceremonies.”
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. The 11th edition of The World Games will be held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.