Birmingham’s iconic Vulcan statue will serve as the mascot of The World Games 2021 in Birmingham.
“Just as Vulcan was our ambassador to attendees of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, he will once again serve as our welcoming ambassador to those who are coming to our city and those who will watch from around the world,” said Jason Eppenger, secretary of the board of directors for Vulcan Park and Museum. “He stands for all of Birmingham and has long stood as a symbol of inspiration and pride for our city.”
The World Games 2021 shared the news Wednesday during a news conference at Vulcan Park and Museum. DJ Mackovets, CEO of The World Games 2021, also announced Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama will be the foundation sponsor for “Live Healthy, Play Global,” a new education program tied to the games. Mackovets said the program will be test-launched in Birmingham City Schools during the 2019-2020 academic year and then will be rolled out to include a wide range of schools across the state.
“It takes everybody to make this happen positively,” Mackovets said. “It doesn’t matter what ZIP code you’re in, everybody needs to be involved in this effort to make it successful.”
“Sponsoring The World Games 2021 education program is an ideal partnership since teaching healthy habits at an early age will help lead to a healthier Alabama,” said Tim Vines, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama. “We are proud to serve with other foundation partners and we look forward to being a part of this historic event that will be a legacy for our great city of Birmingham and for the state of Alabama.”
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama joins Alabama Power, Protective, Regions, and Shipt as official Foundation Partners of The World Games 2021. Additional support has been provided by the City of Birmingham, Jefferson County and Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The World Games 2021 is scheduled to begin July 15, 2021. Mackovets said the next 721 days will be very busy, with volunteer recruiting scheduled to begin in May 2020 and ticket sales scheduled to begin around July 15, 2020.
“As the IWGA continues to remind us, and rightfully so, time passes very quickly,” Mackovets said. “A lot has been done, but clearly there is a lot of work to be taken care of before we welcome the world two years from now.”
Eppenger said a special representation of Vulcan is being developed to be the mascot. Mackovets said that design should be complete and unveiled to the public this fall.
History of The World Games*
- 1981 – Santa Clara, California, was the host city for the first World Games. The United States won more medals than any other country.
- 1985 – The host city for the second World Games was London, Great Britain. Italy led all countries in total medals and gold medals won.
- 1989 – Karlsruhe, Germany, hosted the next World Games. Once again, Italy led all countries in medals won.
- 1993 – The Hague, Netherlands, was the next host city. Germany was awarded more medals than any other country.
- 1997 – Lahti, Finland, hosted the World Games. The United States led in the number of medals won for this World Games.
- 2001 – Akita, Japan, was the host for the World Games. Russia was awarded more medals than any other country.
- 2005 – Duisburg, Germany, hosted the World Games. Russia and Germany led all countries in medals won, but Russia won more gold medals.
- 2009 – Kaohsiung of Chinese Taipei was the next host. Once again, Russia was the leader in medals won.
- 2013 – The next World Games was hosted in Cali, Colombia. This was the first time the games were held in South America. Russia won the most medals again in these World Games.
- 2017 – These World Games were hosted in Wroclaw, Poland. More than 3,200 athletes competed in 31 sports, from 111 different countries.
- 2021 – Birmingham, Alabama will host the 2021 World Games. The Opening Ceremony is July 15 and competition begins the next day.
*According to: theworldgames.org