Members of the Birmingham delegation in Lausanne for the 2021 World Games announcement

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2015 — The International World Games Association (IWGA) today awarded the 2021 World Games to Birmingham, Ala. Birmingham is the first U.S. city to host the World Games since 1981 when Santa Clara, Calif., held the inaugural games.

“USA Gymnastics congratulates the city of Birmingham for being awarded the 2021 World Games,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics, who was in Lausanne, Switzerland, for the presentations and announcement. “Today, Birmingham demonstrated it is absolutely a ‘can-do’ city, and the true warmth of its bid effort certainly made a very positive impression on the leadership of the IWGA. Many thanks to the effort led by our good friends from Birmingham, including Edgar Welden, Ron Froehlich, David Benck, Scott Myers, Jonathan Austin and Steve Mistrot; the incredible support from Larry Probst and the United States Olympic Committee; and to USA Gymnastics’ own Kristin Allen, 2009 World Games gold medalist. Once again, success was achieved through a team effort and we look forward to working with our partners in the great city of Birmingham to stage the most successful World Games ever."

Allen, and her partner Michael Rodrigues, won the World Games gold medal in 2009. Froehlich is chairman emeritus of the Board of USA Gymnastics and has served as IWGA president, and Benck, vice president and general counsel of Hibbett Sporting Goods, is a board member for USA Gymnastics.

The other cities bidding for the event were Lima, Peru, and Ufa, Russia.

The World Games, under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee, are a quadrennial, multi-sport event that showcases more than 35 sports that are not on the Olympic program. For gymnastics, this includes acrobatic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline and tumbling. Approximately 4,500 athletes and officials from about 100 countries participate in the World Games. The last World Games were held in Cali, Colombia, in 2013.