Skating and the World Games, a long story!
A little bit of history
World Games: What is it?
The World Games saw the light in 1981. The first edition was held in Santa-Clara (California, USA). Every 4 years, the World Games gather disciplines that are not on the program of the Olympic Games. The World Games are managed by the International World Games Association (IWGA) under the aegis of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Many sports were removed from the World Games when they entered the Olympic program, like badminton, beach volley, triathlon and rugby sevens...
Contrary to the Olympics where the sports list is set in advance, the sports taking part in the World Games depend on the already-existing facilities in the host city. In other words, no supplementary facilities are built for the World Games. The program varies from 25 to 35 sports according to the editions.
Exhibition sports are sometimes showcased. But no medals are delivered.
Skating has been in the antechamber of the Olympics since... 1981! This is how the World Games are considered, as a chamber, a potential entrance exam before they can reach Olympic recognition and enter the closed circle of the 28 Olympic sports.
Speed skating found its place from the start...
Speed skating entered the program of the World Games as soon as their creation back in 1981. Since 1997, inline skates have replaced traditional quad skates. Road disciplines appeared as guest sports at the 2013 World Games: Men skated a marathon and women raced on a semi-marathon.
It was not until 1993 that Arnaud Gicquel won the first French gold medal on the 5 km race at La Haye, Netherlands, with quad skates. Then, the French often did good results, like Baptiste Grandgirard in Duisburg in 2005 at the 10 km elimination race, or Alexis Contin that same year on the 5 km point race. In 2009, Yann Guyader got the gold on the 10 km point/elimination race in Kaohsiung.
As for the women, Caroline Lagrée offered her first medal to France on the 5 km point race in La Haye, Netherlands in 1993.
...Artistic skating too!
Just like speed skating, Artistic skating found its place in the World Games as soon as 1981. The skaters have free program, pair and dance competitions.
The only French gold medal goes to François Cattier who won the free program competition in Duisburg, Germany in 2005.
In the Women's, Laure Bourguignon finished 3rd at the free program two editions in a row, in 1993 in La Haye and 1997 in Lahti.
Goodbye Rink Hockey, Hello Roller Hockey
Roller Hockey was introduced in the World Games of 2005 in Duisburg, Germany after a decision of the IWGA in 2003. The USA won the first title in front of Canada and Switzerland. In truth, they have won all the titles since 2005!
France won its first and only medal in Roller Hockey in 2009 in Kaohsiung. The French yielded in finals against the USA but finished in front of the formidable Czechs.
Roller Hockey replaced Rink Hockey that same year. Just like speed and artistic skating, rink hockey was part of the first batch of sports.
See you in 2017!
The next edition of the World Games will take place in Wroclaw, Poland on July 20-30, 2017. The host city of the 2021 edition is also already known: Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Useful LinkBy Alfathor
Photos: REL, FFRS, all rights reserved