I had planned to write a very different blog post this month – one sharing exciting news about no
MEIJER STATE GAMES OF MICHIGAN – 10 SUCCESSES IN 10 YEARS
In less than 30 days, West Michigan will celebrate the 10th annual Summer Games of the Meijer State Games of Michigan, with the main weekend June 20-23. Debuting in 2009, this signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event that welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities.
Here are ten successes of the Meijer State Games of Michigan in honor of our 10 years:
1. Economic impact.
The mission of the WMSC is to foster economic development by attracting sporting events to improve quality of life and elevate the brand of Grand Rapids. The Meijer State Games has contributed to this mission by generating more than $28 million in visitor spending over ten years.
Over the ten years of the Games, we have hosted 75,000 athletes competing in more than 400 sporting events who have been awarded 56,000 medals.
3. Statewide representation.
All 83 Michigan counties have been represented by athletes in the Meijer State Games – no small feat bringing individuals/teams from all over the state together.
4. U.S. Olympian participation.
The Meijer State Games has hosted three U.S. Olympic athletes at Opening Ceremonies over the years – 1984 Olympic archer Glen Meyers lit the cauldron with a flaming arrow at the 2011 Summer Games Opening Ceremonies, three-time snowboardcross Olympian (2010, 2014, 2018) Nick Baumgartner lit the cauldron in 2013, and 1988 Track & Field Olympian Gary Morgan lit the cauldron in 2014. Additionally, cyclist Mackenzie Woodring (see photo) who won a gold medal in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, participated in the State Games of America Opening Ceremony.
In 2014, the Meijer State Games introduced the Winter Games to continue our mission of welcoming athletes of all ages and skill levels. The first Winter Games featured 12 sports in which 1,645 athletes participated, growing to 17 sports and more than 2,000 athletes in 2019.
6. National Athletes of the Year.
The National Congress of State Games has named four Michigan athletes Athlete of the Year (AOY) in their respective categories. In 2016, Colette and Elyse Levens were award AOY in the Youth Female category, and Janet Brady received the award in the Female category. In 2018, Adin Fetibegovic received the award in the Youth Male category.
7. National office.
Since 2016, the Meijer State Games also has served as the home office for the National Congress of State Games, a membership organization of 30 Summer State Games and 10 Winter State Games organizations and a member of the United States Olympic Committee's Multi Sport Organizational Council.
8. Hosting national games events.
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is the youngest State Games to host the State Games of America (SGA), only eight years old in 2017 when the SGA came to West Michigan. The Meijer State Games is now preparing to host the USA Masters Games in June 2020.
The Meijer State Games won the Extraordinary Event award from the Michigan Fitness Foundation in 2013, the Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism award from Sports Destination Management magazine in 2017, and the Connect Sports Tourism Excellence Award for the Homegrown Sporting Event of the Year in 2018.
10. National State Games awards.
The Meijer State Games was awarded two professional awards from the National Congress of State Games: Best Digital Media in 2017 for the 2017 State Games of America promotional video, and Best Website in 2018.
With the 10th anniversary of the Meijer State Games of Michigan drawing near, this year is an especially exciting time to participate. Here are ways to get involved:
- Compete in an event - Registration is still open for most sports.
- Attend the Opening Ceremony – Buy a ticket to the Opening Ceremony Friday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Fifth Third Ballpark for a family-friendly evening of athletes and entertainment.
- Volunteer - We are looking for volunteers to join the crew in all event areas.
The West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) is partnering with Celebration Cinema to bring a new sport to West Michigan – and there’s a good chance you know very little about it.
As we prepare for 2020, I’d like to take a moment to review 2019 – it was another great year for youth and amateur sports in West Michigan!