BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The World Games are full of shining moments for athletes and visitors alike, but World Games officials believe Birmingham’s experience with the games will shine bright far beyond the final day.

With the games being halfway through, the International World Games Association hosted a press conference to share how this “once in a lifetime” experience is already leaving a lasting impact on the Birmingham community.   

While there are still plenty of sporting events left to experience, World Games officials are looking ahead to the final stretch. Preparations for gold medal matches and the closing ceremony are taking place, but today, officials focused more of their time on sharing the impact they have seen up to this point. 

Each day, thousands of guests have the opportunity to experience the excitement of the World Games. CEO of the World Games, Nick Sellers says fans get to connect over witnessing competitions rarely seen, showcased by various cultures from all around the world.  

“Stand in respect of these countries and to realize how connected we are and how sports can connect the world. It’s going to change our city forever and for the better,” said Sellers.  

World Games 2022 chairman of the board, Johnathan Porter, says the history of Birmingham will continue to be acknowledged and respected, but that he hopes to simultaneously focus on the trajectory of Birmingham’s future.  

“In its early stages- I mean that’s how we got the name the Magic City, we grew so quickly overnight, and I think we are reimagining the magic that can happen in Birmingham,” said Porter.  

Sellers says the World Games, specifically, have been and will continue to be a shining light for Birmingham. He hopes the World Games experience will allow others to see the potential Birmingham can reach with this momentum in hand.   

“To hopefully show the world how far we’ve come and where we are going,” said Sellers. “Build the self-confidence in Birmingham and where we can go when we commit to something bigger than our own self-interests.”

Sellers says the past does not have to equal the future and that this moment has proven what can happen when we all come together.