After missing out on the 2020 event, the USA Masters Games will be staged in West Michigan June 24–27. The event is a multisport, Olympic-style competition for athletes ages 21 and older, but was postponed last year because of the pandemic.
The 2021 version will feature athletes from 35 states competing in 24 events at 20 sports venues across West Michigan, including in Grand Rapids. The event will be held in conjunction with the Meijer State Games of Michigan, whose main weekend is over the same dates.
This will be the third edition of the masters event that launched in 2016. The first event was held in Greensboro, North Carolina, with San Diego hosting in 2017.
“Hosting the Masters Games is a shot in the arm for West Michigan and an important signal that sporting events are back,” said Mike Guswiler, president of the West Michigan Sports Commission, which is serving as the local event organizer with the Meijer State Games of Michigan. “Just as the 2020 Olympics were postponed until 2021, we made a similar call to postpone the Master Games until pandemic restrictions were lifted, vaccines were available, and athlete and spectator safety could be managed easier. This is an exciting time to celebrate the resurgence of sport, both nationally and across Michigan.”
For most sports, athletes 21 and older registering for the State Games were automatically registered to compete in the USA Masters Games.
“It is an honor to host the third USA Masters Games in the event’s history,” said Eric Engelbarts, executive director of the Meijer State Games of Michigan, the local event organizer with the WMSC. “Our track record in hosting multi-sport games events – from our annual Meijer State Games over the past decade to the 2017 State Games of America – makes this a natural fit for our region and another feather in our cap for hosting the top national multisport events.”
Sports included at the USA Masters Games are 5K, archery (3D and FITA), basketball, bocce ball, bowling, cornhole, cycling, disc golf, figure skating, footgolf, golf, pickleball, rowing, rugby, shooting sports (air rifle and air pistol, SBR, skeet), swimming, taekwondo (virtual), tennis, track and field, and waterskiing.
“We are thrilled to be at this point of holding the long-awaited USA Masters Games in West Michigan,” said Hill Carrow, chief executive officer of the USA Masters Games. “We have great partners in the West Michigan Sports Commission and State Games of Michigan, who have demonstrated their organizational experience through hosting other multi-sport events. Plus Grand Rapids’ excellent venues and hotel proximity make the region a natural fit.”