|First event||1981 – Santa Clara, California, United States|
|Occur every||4 years|
|Last event||2017 – Wrocław, Poland|
|Purpose||To conduct multi-sport events for sports and disciplines that are not contested in the Olympic Games|
|President||José Perurena López|
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The World Games are held every four years, one year after the Summer Olympic Games. The next host city will be Birmingham, Alabama, USA in 2021 then Chengdu, China in 2025.
A number of the sports that were on the programme of The World Games have been discontinued because they are now included in the programme of the Olympic Games, for example badminton, beach volleyball, trampolining, rugby sevens, taekwondo, triathlon, and women's weightlifting. Other sports have been Olympic sports in the past (like tug of war).
Some of the sports that are held at The World Games are acrobatic gymnastics, ultimate, orienteering, karate, powerlifting, finswimming, squash, korfball, billiards, water skiing, and dance sport. The sports that are included in The World Games are limited by the facilities available in the host city; no new facilities may be constructed for the games.[a] Between 25 and 30 sports have been included in the official programme of The World Games. In addition, the IWGA, in coordination with the host city, can invite some sport to participate in the "invitational" programme. No World Games medals are awarded to invitational sports.
To become part of The World Games programme, the sport must be widely spread in the world and the specific international sports federation must be a member of the IWGA. In each sport, only the best athletes or teams may participate, as determined by the international sports federations. In most classes, it is necessary to qualify by a top ranking at the world championships or a qualification tournament to be able to participate.
|Year||Edition||Host city||Host country||Opened by||Athletes||Countries||Official
|Top of the medal table|
|1981||1||Santa Clara||United States||Kim Un-yong||1745||58||15||1||United States|
|1985||2||London||United Kingdom||Charles Palmer||1227||57||20||1||Italy|
|1989||3||Karlsruhe||West Germany||Richard von Weizsäcker||1206||50||17||2||Italy|
|1993||4||The Hague||Netherlands||Beatrix of the Netherlands||2264||72||22||4||Germany|
|1997||5||Lahti||Finland||Martti Ahtisaari||1379||73||22||6||United States|
|2009||8||Kaohsiung||Chinese Taipei1||Ma Ying-jeou||2536||101||26||5||Russia|
1 The Republic of China (Taiwan) is recognised as Chinese Taipei by IWGA and the majority of international organisations it participates in due to political considerations and Cross-Strait relations with the People's Republic of China.
These are the official sports/disciplines of The World Games programme.
Artistic and dance sports
All-time medal table
Through the 2017 World Games
|Totals (10 nations)||943||859||1023||2825|
- This rule, however, may be honored in the breach. The main stadium for the 2021 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama will be completely new—although its primary post-Games use will be by the American football team of the local University of Alabama at Birmingham.
- The Soviet Union, which amassed 36 total medals in 1989, is counted separately from its successor states, including Russia. This is consistent with the separate counting of medals for other states that sub-divided into their constituent successor states following their initial participation in the World Games. These include Czechoslovakia (Czech Republic and Slovakia) and Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).
- The 1981 mixed badminton title was won by a pair of players from Sweden and Great Britain. Both nations are counted as having won a gold medal.
- In 2009, Ukraine was stripped of two gold medals in bodybuilding for doping, which are not included here.
- Olympic Games
- Commonwealth Games
- African Games
- Asian Games
- European Games
- Pacific Games
- Pan American Games
- Edgemon, Erin (2018-12-12). "Groundbreaking set for BJCC stadium". AL.com. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
- "Santa Clara, USA 1981 Programme Sports". International World Games Association. Retrieved 2015-11-05.
- Bryant, Joseph D. (January 22, 2015). "Birmingham wins! City chosen as site for 2021 World Games". www.al.com. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
- "TWG2017 Documents". theworldgames.org. Retrieved 16 September 2014.
- First time official sport in 2017.
- "Results of the World Games". International World Games Association. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- "2009 Kaohsiung: Doping Violations". International World Games Association. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
- "The World Games 2009 Kaosiung (sic)". International Sumo Federation. Retrieved 2017-11-12.
- "The World Games 2013 Cali Medal Tally". sportresult.com. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
- "International Sumo Federation – World Games". Retrieved 2015-11-01.