ST. GEORGE — The Huntsman World Senior Games will be welcoming athletes Tuesday, 7 p.m. during the “Grand Opening Ceremonies” at Hansen Stadium on Dixie State University campus, featuring keynote speaker Olympic gold medalist Rafer Johnson.
Following the tradition of the Olympics, the ceremonies feature a parade of athletes, a cauldron lighting and singing and dancing along with fireworks.
The games have come a long way since that first year in 1987 when St. George welcomed a few hundred athletes competing in a handful of sports. From those humble beginnings, the games have grown into the world’s largest annual multisport event for men and women ages 50 and better. The games take place each October and are open to athletes of all skill levels.
In 2014, the games welcomed 10,856 athletes to St. George, a new participation record. All 50 of the United States of America were represented and athletes from more than 21 different countries took the playing field. Since 1987, the games have hosted 73 different countries at the event.
With so many people coming into the area, the economic impact is significant. Huntsman World Senior Games estimates that there are around $19.2 million that flow into the local economy by way of the athletes, the games news release said.
For 2015, the games offer 28 different sports. From archery to volleyball, individual events to team sports, there is something for everyone.
“One of the unique things about the games is that our divisions for the sports are based on age and, wherever possible, skill level as well,” CEO Kyle M. Case said. “This makes the event more inclusive and allows for a legitimate chance at a medal.”
Part of the success of the games is attributed to the philosophy founded in the early years that the Huntsman games will provide much more than just a sporting event.
“The Games is a total experience,” Case said. “Each sport hosts an athlete social where the participants have an opportunity to have a great meal and create new friendships and renew old ones off the field of competition. Other social and entertainment events provide the opportunity for the athletes to socialize and enjoy themselves. And the great thing is the community is invited to take part in much of the fun as well”
Also featured in 2015 is the Global Cup World Senior Volleyball Championships Oct. 12-15. This invitation-only tournament will feature the very best women’s volleyball players in the world hailing from Canada, Germany and U.S. The teams are comprised of former world and national champions.
In addition to the opening ceremonies, a free concert and celebration will be held Oct. 13, 7 p.m. in the Burns Arena of Dixie State Campus, 700 E. 400 South, and will feature The British Invasion Tribute. More than just The Beatles, The British Invasion Tribute’s performance will play classic songs by iconic British groups such as The Zombies, The Moody Blues and also play American celebrated artists including The Monkees, The Turtles, The Mamas & The Papas and more.
- Huntsman World Senior Games website
- Contact: 800-562-1268
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