BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and The World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers were invited to the White House Wednesday highlighting Birmingham and the 10-day event beginning here July 7.
With opening ceremonies roughly eight weeks away, CBS 42 spent some time with Sellers who agreed to take our camera behind the scenes.
Since Sellers leads a team that’s tasked with pulling off something Birmingham has never seen before, it begs the question what time does Sellers’ alarm go off in the morning?
leading a team tasked with pulling off something Birmingham has never seen .. i had to ask.. what time does his alarm go off in the morning?
“Usually it’s around 4 a.m. now. There’s so much going into my head every day,” said Sellers from a streetside patio across from Protective Stadium, where so much of the festivities and competition will happen.
“I’m rarely setting an alarm. I get up and I’m up,” he continued.
That’s when it’s off to the races.
We meet up with Sellers in the lobby of The World Games 2022 headquarters in downtown Birmingham where so much of the planning takes place daily.
“There’s just so many moving pieces and parts to this. There really is,” he explains.
“We are hitting all of our milestones toward July the 7th,” he continued.
July 7th is when the games begin.
3,600 athletes from more than 100 countries will be in town to compete in 34 different sports.
The event will solidly place Birmingham on the international stage.
“I will tell you it’s a pretty special time to be alive in Birmingham, Alabama. You can feel the energy. It’s really palpable about what’s happening in our city. People are really coming together and this is an opportunity for us who live in the city to help showcase this new Birmingham to the world,” Sellers said.
He and his team are managing every aspect of the games from marketing, ticketing, travel and board, broadcasting, volunteers, language services, and venues where the competitions will happen for 10 days.
“We will build an 8-lane bowling alley in the B.J.C.C. for the gold medal round of bowling on global television. Billiards will be over here at the Sheridan ballroom. There’s a sport called dance sport and I had no idea how big of a following that dance sport had,” he said.
The athletes train all year and will be here for an opportunity to chase gold.
Here to watch it happen will be fans, global dignitaries, even the president of the International Olympic Committee will be in town for what will be the first major international multi-sport event with a full fan experience coming out of the pandemic.
“It really is sort of a clarion call to the world right now that things can get better that we can come together and that nothing brings the world together more than sports and music,” said Sellers.
Security will be tight.
Sellers explained it will be like what you see at a national championship football game or SEC championship football game.
“This is the highest level security rating for the federal government. What that means is Secret Service, FBI, Homeland Security are all working with Birmingham Police, the sheriff’s department from Jefferson County, all of the different municipalities. This will, suffice to say, we are a very safe event for families,” he said.
As for what he has planned after The World Games are over, Sellers said a trip to Italy with his wife is already booked.
“My wife and I will celebrate our 25th anniversary on July the 12th, in the middle of The World Games. She’s volunteering so she’ll be working at some venue around town and I’ll be moving around from venue to venue myself but we’ve already set our trip when this is over,” he said.
Here’s some more information about The World Games from the official website:
Founded in 1980, the International World Games Association (IWGA) is the sole administrator of The World Games, an 11-day global multi-sport event held every four years. Fully recognized and supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the IWGA is a not-for-profit independent international organization comprising 37 International Sports Federations.
To unite and develop communities in and through sport. To provide global exposure and a unique experience for athletes and cities. To engage with and inspire communities by the promotion of Sport values.
The World Games is the pinnacle event where only the best athletes from our International Member Federations perform. They typically gain their presence at the Games by qualifying in select events, such as World Cups or Championships
The World Games is a global multi-sport event, where thousands of the best athletes in the world gather every four years.
These are some numbers about the Games to understand the scale of the event:
+30 Non-Olympic sports & disciplines
Gender mixed disciplines
4,000 world-class athletes
+100 countries represented
+200 medal events
TWG Plaza as epicenter of the event
Events for disabled athletes part of program