The World Games is a multi-sport event staged every four years by the International World Games Association under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee. Due to the COVID pandemic the 11th edition of The World Games will be held between 7-17 July 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. It is predicted that 3,600 athletes from over 30 sports and 100 countries will take part in The World Games.
Twenty twenty-one is a Special year for the IWGA and to celebrate their 40 year anniversary they have decided to launch a bid to find The World Games Greatest Athlete of All Time! Member federations nominated 24 candidates from any edition of The World Games’ 40 year long history which started in Santa Clara in the United States in 1981. Traditionally, the IWGA athletes would compete annually for the title: World Games Athlete of the Year.
The voting began on January 8th, the public audience could vote daily, once per every 24 hours. However, they had to vote for their two top athletes for their vote to count. The first candidate chosen received two votes, and the second candidate one vote. One driver behind this initiative was to create an opportunity for The World Games family to know each other better. The two vote system ensured they had to learn about an athlete from another sport thus creating a new connection.
This way individuals learned about other candidates and a little about their background story, and it was one more way in which athletes and fans could feel part of one big family.
On January 20 a shortlist of the 10 candidates was published with the voting ending entirely on February 1. The top 10 candidates kept the votes they had earned in the first round and went on to compete for one of three top spots. The three best athletes (still to be formally announced) will be awarded with a trophy and a branded gift from the official sponsor Protective Life.
Sofia Olofsson won the IWGA Athlete of the Year Title convincingly in 2016 receiving more than 39 percent of the votes. She was awarded a trophy and a Tissot watch. Sofia was the first female muaythai athlete to qualify for the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland. She went on to win the gold medal in the under 54kg category.
After winning Athlete of the Year Sofia exclaimed:
“It feels incredible to get so many votes! I would like to thank all of the Muaythai community and all of my supporters from Sweden and the rest of the world. I also thank IFMA (International Federation of Muaythai Amateur) and WMC for standing behind me in this and promoting me on Facebook and Instagram. It feels great to get acknowledgement for all the hard work that I put in training. I am so happy right now!”
It was a great achievement and show of support from the fans that Sofia made it to the top ten candidates, finishing in 5th position on the leaders board behind Malaysia’s Nicol David for squash, Ireland’s James Kehoe for Tug of War, Larysa Saloviova of the Ukraine for Powerlifting, and Marcel Hassemeier of Germany for Lifesaving.
IFMA and all the IFMA family are incredibly proud of Sofia. She is also the 2016 and 2018 World Champion, and 2014 and 2017 European Champion. She is an excellent athlete and an outstanding ambassador for the sport of muaythai. Sofia is an inspiration to women across the globe. Her fans around the world have been voting for her and believe her worthy of the title of IWGA Greatest Athlete of all Time.