The annual Meijer State Games of Michigan celebrates participation, sportsmanship and healthy living. This year, the signature event of the West Michigan Sports Commission has another reason to cheer – a decade of bringing people together in the pursuit of athletic excellence and enjoyment. The multi-sport event welcomes all athletes – it doesn’t matter how old you are or how well you perform – you’re invited to compete. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been proud to support this inspiring event over the years as it embodies and supports our mission to help all Michiganders pursue a healthy lifestyle. Since the Games are celebrating 10 years, we’re listing 10 facts and highlights about the event’s history and this year’s competition that have us excited to be part of the action.
- The Opening Ceremony: This high-energy celebration features a parade of athletes and an official cauldron lighting. This year’s Games’ opening ceremony takes place on Friday, June 21.
- Athlete Growth: The first Games drew more than 3,500 athletes participating in 15 sports. For the 2019 Summer Games, more than 8,000 athletes will descend on West Michigan, participating in more than 45 sporting events.
- A Sport for Everyone: While traditional sports are part of the event, the State Games offers something for everyone. The newest offering this summer is spikeball and many will be happy to hear that paintball and Ninja events will return after successfully debuting last year. Check out the full list of events here.
- Economic Impact: Since its inception, the Meijer State Games of Michigan has contributed more than $25 million in estimated economic impact to cities throughout Michigan.
- Volunteers Make it Work: The Games’ rely on volunteers to staff athletic events and serve as coaches. The organization estimates 750 volunteers will take part in this summer’s events.
- Qualifying for National Glory: The Michigan competition helps many state athletes qualify for the national State Games of America, held every two years during odd years – Grand Rapids hosted in 2017.
- Don’t Forget Winter Sports: In 2014, winter sports were added with a second annual event taking place during the chilly months. Stay tuned for 2020 event details, taking place over Valentine’s Day weekend.
- Inspiring Professional Athletes: Each year’s opening ceremony typically draws a national-caliber pro athlete to inspire the crowd. This year’s featured guest is Olympian Dick Fosbury, the originator of the high jump “Fosbury Flop”. Previous guests have included archer Glenn Meyers, Winter Olympian Nick Baumgartner and track & field star Gary Morgan.
- Photo Finish: If you’re going to spectate at the Games, make sure to bring your camera. A social media-fueled photo contest allows fans to enter their best pics and videos. The top photo wins a gift card from Lake Michigan Credit Union!
- Sponsor Support: This event truly is a community effort from the athletes to the volunteers to the many local businesses who come together to provide funding. We’re proud to be a Silver sponsor and applaud every organization supporting this worthwhile competition.
Have you attended the State Games of Michigan in the last 10 years? What’s your favorite memory? Share with us in the comments. If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:
- Volunteering Impacts How You Lead
- How Blue Cross Supports Active Kids
- Supporting the Michigan Health Endowment Fund
Photos courtesy State Games of Michigan