2022 World Games set to begin Thursday with Opening Ceremony

Adam Baranovsky, Contributing Writer

The 2022 World Games are scheduled to kick off in Birmingham on Thursday, July 7, after being rescheduled from July 2021.

The opening ceremony is expected to be a lively and entertaining celebration of the athletes who represent more than 100 different countries. The presentation will feature live music, headlined by Grammy Award-winning rapper Nelly, as well as entertainment, special effects and the introduction of the participating athletes. 

The 11th annual world games will be held from July 7-17 and will feature over 30 different sports and 3,600 participating athletes at multiple venues across the Birmingham area. 

With more than 600 medals, 200 of which are gold, set to be awarded to the victorious athletes, the 2022 World Games returns to the United States for the first time since 1981 when it was inaugurally held in Santa Clara, California. 

The games have generated a massive economic impact of $256 million for the city of Birmingham. 

“We are firmly focused on making this a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our visiting athletes and fans,” Mayor of Birmingham Randall Woodfin said. “We also know this provides incredible opportunities for our residents and businesses. I can tell the coming experience of serving as a global host has excited the 99 neighborhoods that make up the city. The pride our residents feel is clear. We are a town full of southern hospitality and ready to share it with the world.” 

Following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing in the 2022 World Games. Russia qualified 62 athletes while Belarus qualified just 11.  

The World Games also announced that a small portion of ticket revenue will be donated to Ukraine for the rebuilding of sports venues following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

“The connections and relationships that will be built leading up to and during the event will be lasting,” Woodfin said. “I am convinced we will be a better, stronger city because of our World Games experience.