Something spectacular has happened over the past few days in the city of Birmingham, in the US state of Alabama. The niche sport got its big stage at the World Games, which ended on Sunday after the editorial deadline. The best competed for medals in 35 sports that are not part of the Olympic program but are nevertheless widespread worldwide. Among other things, in lifeguards, air sports or boules
And as the final result shows, the potential of German sport at this level is enormous. With 24 gold medals, the German World Games team led the rankings by a wide margin, ahead of the host country USA and Ukraine, each with 16 victories.
“The World Games are a platform for sports to show themselves and the Olympic Committee what potential there is in oneself,” said DOSB Vice President and Chairman of the non-Olympic associations, Oliver Stegemann, in an interview with broadcaster Sport 1. who broadcast the event.
While the Olympic team sports in particular have had a difficult time at the games recently, the German teams really cleaned up in Birmingham. For example, after winning the European Championship and the World Cup, the women’s beach handball players now also triumphed at the World Games. “It’s just a terrific achievement. We can be very happy about this development,” said Andreas Michelmann, President of the German Handball Association, congratulating him.
In fistball, both the women’s and men’s teams won gold medals. The Ultimate Frisbee selection also caused a sensation in the meantime, ending the tournament just behind the medal ranks.
For the participants, a multisport event is not just about the sporting competitions, but also about the special flair and the exchange with athletes from different disciplines and from other countries. The Berliner Jilou Rasul represented the German team at the competitions in Birmingham in breaking, which is often incorrectly called break-dance. She describes the days in the United States as a “mega experience”. “We have never had such an event with other sports before.”
Although the 30-year-old flew back to Germany after her competitions, the impressions of the games are still having an impact: “I felt a total thrill when I entered the hall.” Especially the idea of the World Games to integrate the competitions into the existing infrastructure , in the case of the breaking has risen fully. Jilou and her comrades competed in an old steel factory.
In addition, the response from the audience was tremendous. The approximately 100 chairs that were initially set up were not enough at the back and front. Jilou, who starts for OTK Schwarz-Weiß 1922 in SC Siemensstadt, estimates that around 1200 visitors were present in the morning session, and around 400 more in the afternoon. That’s exactly what the World Games should stand for: surprise and electrify.
In order to develop young and, above all, younger target groups, the International Olympic Committee has included breaking in the program of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. The premiere of this sport at the World Games also means having to say goodbye to this format. “It’s getting really big for us right now,” says Jilou. “And there’s a lot of work to do.”
The federation structures of the sports represented in Birmingham are clearly less professional compared to the Olympic disciplines.
And of course not everyone in this industry likes that commercialization is now spilling over into breaking. For Jilou, who finished in the top eight in Birmingham and has hopes of a medal in Paris, this promotion offers enormous opportunities. “Commercialization also helps to earn money with this thing. As a show act, I know you need attention to get commissions.”
As an athlete, she is also looking forward to the Olympics event. In the past few days she got a little taste of what awaits her in Birmingham. But it certainly won’t be as casual as it was recently in Paris.