World Games

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The World Games are an international sports competition held triannually.



Over the course of the 19th century, various sports leagues developed in nations around the world. By the middle of the century, international competitions began to be held, initially on an irregular basis, and generally within alliances.

Gradually, a wide range of international sports competitions arose, such as the Empire Games in the British Empire, and the Pan-German Games in the Holy Roman Empire.

As an internationalist sentiment rose in the late 19th century, there became talk of establishing international festivals, to promote world piece and friendship. One result of this was the World's Fairs. In 1895, an international conference was held in Paris, proposing an International Sports Festival, later renamed the World Games (though, confusingly, its organizing committee has retained the name International Sports Festival Committee to this day).

The International Sports Festival Committee hammered out the details. It was agreed that the games would be held in a different nation every year, and that the host nation would be responsible for organizing the games and determining the rules that would be used.

The earliest games were competitions between both national and private teams, but, by 1908, private teams had disappeared.

The first games were quadrennial, but the frequency was increased to triannual in 1912, and then biannual in 1924. Beginning in that year, a Winter Sports Festival was also held in conjunction with the Games. The games returned to a triannual schedule in 1934.

Event History: Early in the history of the World Games, the main events were limited in number to the basic field sports (rugby, football, rounders and the like). There were several "off time" events, featuring other athletic activities such as various throwing events (spear, hardball) for accuracy and distance; kicking (usually a football) also for accuracy and distance; running (short distance sprints, longer distance around a track, leaping gates and the like); scrumming; tackling and leaping (for height). There were also "off field" events, such as archery, fisty cuffs, and unofficial sports such as la crosse, bandy and cricket. The off time events were originaly played inside the stadium outside of regular event times. The off field events were held at any time, but outside the main stadium, often in a nearby venue such as a park or convenient field. They served as warm up events and entertainment for the crowds and also as ways of boosting a side's image and supporters' morale. Thus, even if a side lost its main event, participants could still claim to be fastest or strongest in some related endeavour. At first, these secondary events were played mainly by benchwarmers so the principle players would not be tired or injured for the main events.

As time has passed, these contests proved to be increasingly popular. As can be seen from the list of World Game events, the popularity of the one time off field events has secured their posiiton as main events in the modern Games.

Locations of World Games

  World Games Winter Sports Festival
Year Games Host City Country Games Host City Country Notes
1900 1st Paris France
1904 2nd Athens Greece
1908 3rd Chicago North American League
1912 4th Stockholm, Sweden Scandinavian Realm
1915 Berlin Holy Roman Empire Cancelled due to First Great War
1918 Cancelled due to First Great War
1921 5th Antwerp Batavian Kingdom
1924 6th Toledo Castile and Leon 1st Chamonix France
1926 7th Edinburgh Scotland 2nd Lucirn Helvetia
1928 8th Boston North American League 3rd Oslo Scandinavian Realm
1930 9th Sednîr Australasia 4th Ōtepoti Aotearoa
1932 10th Vilnius Lithuania 5th Tallinn Estonia
1934 11th Berlin Holy Roman Empire 6th Garmisch-Partenkirchen Holy Roman Empire
1937 12th Tòquiò Japan 7th Sapporo Japan First Games in Asia
1940 Cancelled due to Second Great War
1943 Cancelled due to Second Great War
1946 Cancelled due to Second Great War
1949 13th Bon Aire Riu de l'Argent Many nations did not participate due to the Second Great War
1952 14th Helsinki Scandinavian Realm 8th Zürich Helvetia First post-War Games
1955 15th Munich Holy Roman Empire 9th Innsbruck Austria
1958 16th Cape Town South Africa 10th Ceres South Africa First Games in Africa
1961 17th Belgrade CSDS 11th Novi Pazar CSDS The last World Games held in a single country
1964 18th Xinjing Beihanguo 12th Trst CSDS The Winter Games was the only one held back-to-back in the same country. Originally, Olmyc in Bohemia was to be the winner, but a scandal broke out due to the head of the Bohemian committee getting a bribe in exchange of victory that it was given to the runner-up, Trst, the choice being controversial on its own.
1967 19th Ciudad de Mejico Mejico 13th Grenoble France
1970 20th Rome Papal States 14th Pecär Bohemia
1973 21st New Amsterdam NAL 15th Kastelnow Helvetia
1976 22nd Ville-Marie New Francy 16th Innsbruck Austria
1979 23rd Seoul,Corea Japan 17th Vuriloche Araucania and Patagonia
1982 24th Moscow Russian Empire 18th Yerevan Armenia Boycotted by Western nations and many Muslim nations
1985 25th Philadelphia North American League 19th Czieta da Saray CSDS Boycotted by Snorist nations
1988 26th City of Montrei Montrei 20th Kartalkaya Turkey
1991 27th Warsina Republic of the Two Crowns 21st Mzaar Kfardebian Lebanon
1994 28th Palermo Two Sicilies 22nd Hamar Scandinavian Realm
1997 29th Manila Bornei-Filipinas 23rd Gudauri Georgia
2000 30th Viridian City Oregon 24th Isfahan Persia
2003 31st Quiòto Japan 25th Val de Niav Montrei
2006 32nd Castreleon Kemr 26th Turin Italy
2009 33rd Athens Greece 27th Lhasa Tibet The hosting of the games in Tibet was widely protested by activists opposed to the current Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government.
2012 34th London England 28th Sochi Russia
2015 35th Rio de Janeiro Brasil 29th Lachung Sikkim
2018 36th Edo Japan 30th Phieñchhañ, Corea Japan First games since 1961 to be held in a single country. Also the second time Edo becoming the host city, this time under its current name.
2021 37th Almaliq Turkestan 31st Urumchi Uyguristan


In 1905, the International Sports Festival Committee revised the World Games charter, to take effect in 1908, abolishing private teams. It established the present system of National Chapters to the ISFC. Any entity with a National Chapter to the ISFC may field a team. National Chapters, despite their name, are not restricted to individual nations. A sub-national entity, with the consent of its governing nation, may have a National Chapter (but, if so, may not also participate in its governing nation's Chapter), and two or more nations may share a Chapter. For example, the Japanese Empire has no National Chapter for the Empire as a whole. Instead, there are three NC's. Corea, Ezo, and a single NC for Yamato and Lùquiù (due to Lùquiù's small size, the Lùquiù NC merged with Yamato's in 1993).


In each event, the 1st place winner is given an Olive Branch, the 2nd place winner a gold medal, the 3rd place a silver, and the 4th place bronze.


The exact set of events varies from year to year. In the 2006 World Games, the following events were held: Incomplete?

  • Archery
  • Bandy
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Distance Jumping
  • Distance Kicking
  • Distance Throwing
  • Fencing
  • Hurdles
  • Javelin Tossing
  • Lacrosse
  • Marathon
  • Pole Vaulting
  • Precision Kicking
  • Precision Throwing
  • Racing
  • Relay Racing
  • Rugby
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tug of War
  • Weight Lifting
  • Wrestling

There are talks of including Kabaddi and Kokburu, but as of this writing, no decision has been made.