With fireworks and a concert by superstar Lionel Richie, The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, USA, came to an end on Sunday evening. IWGA President José Perurena closed the eleventh edition of the multi-sport event in the official part of the Closing Ceremony at the Protective Stadium. He invited the athletes to participate in The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, People's Republic of China.
José Perurena in his speech thanked the city of Birmingham, the organizers led by Chairman Jonathan Porter and Mayor Randall Woodfin for their tireless efforts. The IWGA President expressed his appreciation to the more than 3,000 volunteers. In his speech, José Perurena spoke of the “Comeback Games” and “the reunion of The World Games Family”. Due to the pandemic, the Games had been postponed for one year. José Perurena said: "The athletes all got Back on Stage, after such a long wait in the wings, and performed brilliantly. Well done, Birmingham!"
Mayor Woodfin thanked the citizens of his city for their hospitality. He continued, "Tonight may be the closing of a historic event, but it's far from the finale. Know that like every good Southerner, we don't see strangers, we only see family. You are family now."
From the hands of José Perurena, Yang Shen Wei, Head of Chengdu Delegation at The World Games 2022 in Birmingham, USA, received the flag of The World Games. In his invitation to the world, Yang Shen Wei promised: "We will deliver a wonderful Games featuring international standard, Chinese style and Chengdu characteristics so as to jointly write a new chapter in the history of The World Games." With an amazing show programme Chengdu set the mood for the 12th edition in three years during the closing ceremony.
Birmingham bid farewell to the world with a tribute to the passion for sport in the city. This passion had inspired 3,550 athletes during the ten days of competition. 34 sports were on the programme and for the first time at The World Games a para-discipline was represented with Wheelchair Rugby. A total of 223 gold medals were awarded at the Games in Alabama, which could be seen worldwide thanks to the TV production of ISB, as well as the TV broadcast in 70 countries and online streaming via olympics.com. At the 23 competition venues, 375,000 spectators watched the decisions. For the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019, international multisport event could be held again in front of sports fans in the stands.
José Perurena said, "The World Games 2022 was a great festival of sport and also a demonstration of the ability of human beings to compete hard, while still living together in peace and harmony." As a sign of this peaceful togetherness through sport, the athletes entered the closing ceremony not separated by nation but mixed and together. There was special applause for the volunteers, who also had the opportunity to enter the packed Protective Stadium." The closing ceremony offered not only the promised a once-in-a-lifetime-experience it kept the promise in spectacular fashion.
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 is held in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, 7-17 July 2022. 3,600 athletes from 34 sports and over 100 countries take part in The World Games.