BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Preparations for the World Games 2022 continue as the city marks 100 days until the major event.
Tuesday, organizers announced plans for a relay involving thousands of veterans in several states.
Veterans will take turns carrying an American flag from the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. to the opening ceremony in Birmingham.
World Games 2022 CEO Nick Sellers talked about the significance of the event during a news conference.
“We’re so excited to be able to put the city of Birmingham and the state of Alabama on an international stage and take our rightful place as a true international destination,” said Sellers.
The relay will span approximately 3,000 miles. Birmingham area veteran Noah Galloway will carry the flag to the ceremony.
“It’s an incredible thing for the country, and for the state of Alabama and the city of Birmingham, but at a time coming out of a pandemic, everything we’ve gone through, this connection with these veterans running this American flag and all the cities it will pass through,” said Galloway.
There is still plenty of work to be done before around 1,000 athletes from more than 100 countries visit the Magic City.
Some have expressed concerns about litter in the city. There have been some cleanups already this year and city leaders expect more leading up to the event.
In February, area first responders received specialized training ahead of the games.
Other projects like City Walk BHAM have also shown progress in the past few months.
Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said public safety was the most important priority for the city. Multiple law enforcement agencies from the federal, state, regional, and local level will be on hand to assist.
“We received our SEAR (Special Event Assessment Rating) 1 rating from the federal government. That is on par with the Super Bowl, except this is not a one time event over three hours, this is a 10 day event over multiple venues,” said Woodfin.
Other cities like Hoover, Pelham, and Homewood will also host visitors with venues.