In Toronto, Canada late in 1985 Dr Maureen Johnston, the Founder of the World Masters Games conceived the idea of the World Corporate Games.
Dr. Johnston saw that there was a need for a project that offered everyone of every age and ability the chance to play sport on a worldwide basis, represent a team, wear its colours and be proud to be part of a multisport festival for businesses, organisations, institutions and societies of every size and kind.
The Games were to have no barriers to participation and would be the first open equally in every respect to women and men. They would also be the first to integrate participants with disabilities.
She founded Sport For Life, an Organisation dedicated to bringing global sporting competition within the reach of everyone.
The first requirement was to find a great city to stage the Inaugural Games. Many cities were visited and considered. Dr. Johnston’s choice fell upon San Francisco whose vibrant Mayor, Diane Feinstein, backed the concept from the beginning.
San Francisco, the business centre of California (close to Silicon Valley) proudly staged the first World Corporate Games in 1988 and it was an instant success.
Concord, a nearby city in California requested the rights to Host the Games in 1989. In promoting and publicising the new Games a Californian athlete ran, swam, roller-skated and kayaked his way across the country from Concord Mass to Concord California visiting 27 other Concords en route.
Hawaii followed and became the 3rd World Corporate Games, attracting many thousands of participants from all around the world to the Islands for a very special Games with medal presentations on the beaches and under the palm trees of Oahu.
In keeping with the worldwide nature of the Games the 4th was held in 1991 in Lille France under the Patronage of President Mitterrand. This Games witnessed a truly spectacular Opening Celebration.
In 1991 the 1st Winter World Corporate Games was held in the USA at Steamboat Colorado. Winter Games followed in Austria at Seefeld and Gastein.
London hosted a magnificent World Corporate Games in 1992, with more than 6000 participants in the United Kingdom. It was so successful that in 1993 the UK and Ireland Corporate Games was developed and staged in two consecutive years in Milton Keynes. Renamed the UK Corporate Games it has been held in every year since then in a variety of impressive Cities.
The first license to hold Games outside the world events was granted in 1991 and the 1st Australian Corporate Games began in Sydney in 1993. By 2011 there were four Corporate Games held annually in Australia’s major cities and resorts.
Malaysia hosted a wonderful World Corporate Games in 1993.
Nelson Mandela was Patron of the first multiracial global sports event held in South Africa in the post apartheid era – the World Corporate Games Johannesburg 1994. More than 11,000 athletes participated.
One after another great cities from Zagreb to Budapest, Stuttgart to Seville and Den Hague to Bilbao have been hosts and in July 2010 Moscow staged the 23rd World Corporate Games.
Year after year the Corporate Games has grown with ever increasing numbers of participants competing in the World’s largest corporate multi-sport festivals.
The first South American Corporate Games were held in Montevideo 1997.
The first All Ireland Corporate Games was first held in Belfast in 2004 followed by Limerick in the Republic of Ireland.
For several years wonderful Games have been staged in Istanbul and Athens, with the Istanbul Corporate Games having now been staged successfully for over a decade.
The first Games in the Middle East began in 2009 with the Arabian Corporate Games. In 2010 a new office was opened in Dubai to develop, service and support an increasing number of projects and Licensees.
More recently, Licenses have been granted to organisations in India, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and many other interesting places throughout the world from Cornwall to Auckland and New Guinea to Nigeria. This has led Dr. Johnston to form the Worldwide Corporate Games Community in which each Games becomes a member.
From its conception in Toronto the Corporate Games is a truly global movement of weekend sports warriors, those everyday athletes who get fit for business and for life through participation in sport that can last a lifetime.