The World Games Athlete of the Year race was this year bigger than ever before. Behind the top three, there were several candidates and federations strongly supporting the campaign and activating their fans to share the news and vote. Even though these candidates did not win, they definitely created a lot of awareness for their sport – and for The World Games!
One of the great examples of a very active and versatile campaign – but also of fair play and sportsmanship – was IFMA Muaythai with their candidate Svetlana Vinnikova (RUS). Unlike anyone else, the IFMA produced video after video for social media, where Muaythai starts from all over the world supported Vinnikova and asked everyone to vote for her. The Russian Muaythai Federation produced similar videos as well, and we could even see children in large groups claiming their support for Svetlana Vinnikova. The whole campaign was top-class with good atmosphere and happy spirit. And when Vinnikova did not win, what did IFMA Muaythai do? Congratulate her for the best Muaythai result ever, thank everyone voting for her – and then send a separate social media post to congratulate the winners, the Acrobatic Gymnastics couple Marina Chernova & Georgii Pataraia!
The Greece Women’s Handball team first surprised everyone at the World Championships when they debuted with a gold medal. Then they activated their fans and created another surprise: they reached by far the best-ever result for a Handball team in The World Games Athlete of the Year vote! With their 15,220 votes they finished fifth.
Of the sports that just didn’t make it to the final 10, six would have got there last year with the numbers of votes they got. Closest of them was Aikido’s candidate Renato Filippin (SUI) – gathering 4,748 votes in 15 days, even though Aikido was appearing for the first time in The World Games Athlete of the Year race! And a candidate who could wake up a whole nation to vote finished 12th: Boules champion Ke Leng got most of her 3,904 votes from Cambodia, and some other big Boules nations. Also Lacrosse had their best race so far, the USA Men’s team finishing with 1,969 votes.
All in all, 492,104 votes were cast in the race. The World Games wishes to express its gratitude to all the federations, candidates and fans that supported the campaign and took part.
The final results can be viewed here.
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, 15-25 July 2021. 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in the Games.