Birmingham chosen to host 2021 World Games
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Birmingham beat out cities in Peru and Russia to serve as the host of the 2021 World Games, but organizers said Thursday the winning bid won't come with a huge bill for construction of athletic venues. The International World Games Association selected Birmingham to put on the event that draws more than 4,500 athletes from more than 100 countries. Other finalists included Lima, Peru, and Ufa, Russia. The games are held every four years and consist of non-Olympic sports. Events include softball, lacrosse, racquetball, bowling, sumo and canoeing. While hosting an Olympics typically results in the construction of coliseums, arenas and housing areas, the World Games operates differently. "They don't look for construction. They want to use existing facilities," said Bill Miller, a spokesman for the local organizing committee. Events will be held at venues including Legion Field, the Birmingham CrossPlex and Oak Mountain State Park, Miller said, and athletes will be housed in dormitories at area universities. The cost of improving or expanding any of those locations hasn't been calculated, Miller said, but organizers believe the games will have an economic impact from out-of-town visitors of $256 million. Gov. Robert Bentley welcomed the announcement that the games will be held in Birmingham. "Alabama has so much to offer and we are eager to roll out the red carpet for our national and international guests," he said. A U.S. city last hosted the World Games in 1981, when the event was held in Santa Clara, California. The next World Games will be held in 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland. Birmingham's selection was announced during a meeting in Switzerland.