In January 2021, all The World Games fans got the opportunity to vote for The World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time. Squash legend Nicol David (MAS) won the poll with 318,943 votes before 9-time Tug of War medallist from The World Games, James Kehoe (IRL), who participated in all the Games from 1981 to 2013 and won a medal every time. Third in the race was Powerlifting legend from Ukraine, Larysa Soloviova, who has won gold each time she has been to The World Games, 2005–2017. Soloviova will also compete at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama. But she will not be the only athlete there from the Greatest of All Time: six athletes from the eight best in the poll will be present in Birmingham, and will bear the flag of the International World Games Association (IWGA) in the Opening Ceremony!
While Nicol David unfortunately is not able to attend the Games, Kehoe and Soloviova will be joined by lifesaver Marcel Hassemeier (GER), Muaythai fighter Sofia Olofsson (SWE), Speed Roller Skater Fabriana Arias (COL) and Racquetball star Paola Longoria (MEX) in acting as IWGA flag bearers and taking part in several activities during the Games. Paola Longoria will also be competing in Racquetball, aiming for her third consecutive gold medal.
All in all, 1,204,637 votes were cast during for The World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time poll, organised to celebrate the 40thanniversary of The World Games. Now the Greatest of All Time get to return to the Games to re-live their memories – and to compete against each other once more, but this time in eSports in the eSports Pavilion hosted by the IWGA!
The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association, organised with the support 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 34 sports and over 100 countries will take part in The World Games.