In June 2017 the United World Games will take place for the 13th time, reason enough to take a look back into the past and on the eventful history of our Games. With pride and joy we can look back on 12 years UWG, more than a decade full of exciting competitions, international friendship, cultural exchange and loads of fun.
We are overjoyed that you, our fantastic and beloved participants, have gone on this breathtaking journey together with us, and we can’t wait to start into the next UWG decade. Our community is growing from year to year and we want to keep on building bridges and celebrate the amazing positive and unifying power of sports, promoting respect and fairplay.
How we started...
In 2004 a team of young and sport fanatic people decided to take a rather small regional sport event, which was especially designed for Austrians, to a whole new international level. It took an entire year to prepare and organize this international event and even more time was spent on the phone just to call and invite teams from all over Europe. This concept of Sport Youth Games with a unique Olympic atmosphere and big fun potential, yet with enough time for personal and intercultural encounters even off the fields, seemed to attract everyone right away.
In 2005 the success story begins...
Already the first edition of the UWG in 2005 in Klagenfurt brought together 500 athletes from 12 different nations. Four wonderful days were spent and the citizens of Klagenfurt just couldn't believe their eyes, when the city center was transformed into a big open-air disco by this mass of happy and laughing people. All participants agreed upon one thing: A successful festival with a lot of new friends, which should not be missed in the year to come.
2006 - Here come the Americans...
No sooner said than done: At the UWG 2006 90% of the first edition's participants showed up again and many new faces were joining them. In total more than 2500 athletes from 17 different nations (with the first teams from the U.S.) joined this time. No longer could the city center hold that many people and the exhibition center of Klagenfurt was turned into a humongous Players Town. Once again the big international UWG family spent four thrilling and action packed days together.
2007 - Two locations
Due to the massive interest and the enormous demand the UNITED WORLD GAMES were hold in two Austrian cities - Klagenfurt and Vienna - in 2007. Basketball, soccer and volleyball tournaments were played in Klagenfurt, whereas 5 more disciplines were offered at the Vienna edition (Baseball, bowling, swimming, tennis and wrestling). With more than 500 participating athletes a new record breaking turnout was etsablished.
2008 - in the heat of the EURO 2008
In 2008 the UNITED WORLD GAMES were exclusively back to Klagenfurt and the date was set from the 19th to the 22nd of June - right in the middle of the EURO 2008 soccer championship. After the three preliminaries of the competition in the brandnew Wörthersee stadium, it was the UWG participants that brought international air to the capital of Carinthia. A truly perfect date that allowed all UWG athletes to experience both events first hand! What an irresistible combination!
2009 - Doping? No way! Handball? All the way!
The UNITED WORLD GAMES 2009 spotlighted doping prevention. Even though most of our athletes are not (yet) and hopefully never will be involved with doping, you can't start early enough teaching our athletes about the prevention measures. Informative and age-based brochures provided by our partner the UNESCO were handed over to all participating teams in order to point out the danger of doping. Also, in 2009 handball was introduced as the fourth official sport and the first international handball tournament in the histroy of the Games turned out to be a huge success right away.
2010 – New record attendance - new nations
Already months before the Games started there was many signs indicating that 2010 should bring a new record attendance! Sure enough, in 2010 more young athletes than ever joined our Games at the beautiful lake Wörthersee. There were even new particpating countries - such as two basketball teams from India. Another very special highlight were the official UWG cheerleaders that did not just rock our venues but who also broke quite some hearts. The new location of the Games - the EURO stadium in Klagenfurt - turned out to be the ideal venue as hoped.
2011 - More sports with Fistball and Tennis
2011 had many new suprises in store for the participants. For the first time in the history of the Games the sport of fistball was added and an international fistball tournament brought the biggest talents together. It turned out to be an ideal showcase opportunity for the sport, which is played in many countries, but yet not known to many people. Over all, more than 4,000 atheletes particpated in the UNITED WORLD GAMES 2011.
2012 - Welcome Palestine, Canada und Indonesia
More than 4,500 participants joined the UNITED WORLD GAMES 2012 (June 21 - 24, 2012). Among the starting countries Indonesia, Canada and Palestine were the three newcomers. A more than memorable highlight was the appearance of Austrian singer and Idol winner Conny Mooswalder at the Openig Ceremony.
2013 - Two new sports, the UWG family keeps growing
It's another record! As in all the years before, the United World Games grew even bigger in 2013 as well, almost 6,000 participants travelled to Klagenfurt from near and far to be a part of the ninth edition of the Games. 2013 witnessed the introduction of Rugby and Fieldhockey as two new sports, both being major hits and enriching the UWG with exciting tournaments. But also offside the playing fields there were novelties, such as the Gala Evening for parents, Sponsors and Partners of the Games.
2014 - The Games grow bigger and more professional
Once more the organizers were able to enter a new record in the books as participant numbers broke through the 6.000 barrier at the UWG 2014. Again, several new nations could be welcomed to the Games, among them South Africa and Luxembourg. Both at the various sports tournaments and off the field as well there were numerous innovations and improvements. Tournament direction and side events such as the big Opening Ceremony were professionalized and expanded.
A nice preview to the Opening Ceremony of the UWG 2014 was done by ORF Kärnten!
2015 – More sports, more side events, more nations, more UWG
Alongside the continuously rising participant numbers, the 11th edition of the United World Games also saw further additions to the featured sports. The introduction of Orienteering and Swimming meant that no less than 9 different sports were on show, with both of the new competitions being huge sucesses and drawing new members from Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and Portugal into the UWG Family. Additionally, the side program of the Games grew once more too, with the advent of the Basketball Scouting Clinics with coaches from the US or the Soccer Coaching Exchange Workshop. 6.500 participants celebrated another festival of sports and exchange on the shores of lake Wörthersee.
2016 – New nations, new participation record, new sport
For the first time the United World Games welcomed over 8000 participants in Klagenfurt! Besides the new participation record the organizers were excited to host three new nations at the Games. Soccer teams from Brazil, the U16 Basketball national teams from Mongolia, as well as teams from Kenya travelled to Austria in June.
Like in the years before a new sport was added to the UWG. For the first time hundreds of athletes participated in Athletics in Klagenfurt.