By: Tabitha Bacus
The Meijer State Games of Michigan has brought athletes of many ages, from all parts of Michigan, together to compete in a variety of sports. The event is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2019. In honor of that, here are 10 things you might not know about the Meijer State Games of Michigan:
1. The Meijer State Games of Michigan is hitting its 10-Year Anniversary this summer.
The Games were announced in 2009 and celebrated its inaugural Summer Games in 2010. The 2010 Summer Games drew over 3,500 athletes from 62 Michigan counties. Its Opening Ceremony featured the Parade of Athletes, Lighting of the Cauldron, and live entertainment by American Idol Finalist and Michigan Native Matt Giraud.
2. They are the signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission. The West Michigan Sports Commission began the Games to allow Michigan athletes of any age and ability to participate in a healthy, active lifestyle. This signature event has grown exponentially from 2010 with 15 sports, 3,500 athletes and $1.4 million in visitor spending, to 62 sports (Summer and Winter Games) 10,367 athletes and $3.5 million in visitor spending in 2016.
3. The Meijer State Games of Michigan began with only 15 sports. What started as a summer only event with 15 sports to compete in, the Meijer State Games of Michigan has grown into a bi-annual event (summer and winter) with 62 sports and counting.
4. The Winter Games were added in 2014- The Meijer State Games of Michigan added the inaugural Winter Games to continue fulfilling the mission of being a grassroots organization that welcomes athletes from all ages and abilities. The Winter Games consisted of 12 different sports in which 1,645 athletes participated.
5. Michigan hosted the State Games of America in 2017. This was the first time Michigan hosted the national competition. Michigan athletes were joined by athletes from 46 other states, Canada, the Virgin Island and the District of Columbia. In total 11,760 athletes competed in 46 sports at 44 different venues in the Summer of 2017. Olympic Day was held June 23, 2017 at Fifth Third Ballpark with children from local YMCAs. In total 14,175 athletes competed in 2017.
6. The Meijer State Games of Michigan is the second youngest State Games programs. Established 31 years after the first State Games program was created, the Meijer State Games of Michigan has grown significantly from year one to year ten. This growth has already put the Meijer State Games among the top State Games in number of sports offered and number of participants each year.
7. Michigan is one of 29 states that hosts a State Games program. Participants from each of the 29 states come together to compete at the State Games of America every two years. All recipients of a gold, silver, or bronze medal from the Meijer State Games of Michigan (Summer or Winter Games) are qualified to compete in the State Games of America. Six more state are currently developing State Games programs.
8. Athletes that have participated in the Meijer State Games of Michigan have ranged from 3 years old to 100 years old. The philosophy of the Meijer State Games of Michigan is that everyone participates regardless of age or ability. The Track and Field event featured during the Summer Games has had participants whose ages range from 3 to 100 years old. Everyone is welcome at the Games and everyone plays.
9. The Summer and Winter State Games kick off with Opening Ceremony. Like the Olympics, the Meijer State Games of Michigan includes an Opening Ceremony that allows thousands of spectators to witness the Parade of Athletes, Lighting of the Cauldron and experience great entertainment. The Parade of Athletes allows the participants of the Games to represent their sport and be recognized and celebrated with their fellow athletes before the main weekend competitions begin.
10. The Games are open to all of Michigan. The State Games may be held on Michigan’s West Side, but they are open to the entirety of the Upper and Lower Peninsula! All Michigan residents of any age or skill level are invited to participate in the Summer and Winter Games. All 83 of Michigan’s counties have been represented throughout the 10 years of the Meijer State Games of Michigan.