Montréal hosts the 2017 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships
The 47th FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships are one of the most important events on the international sporting calendar, and Montréal’s storied Olympic Stadium is set to host the 2017 edition from October 2 to 8. Awarding 12 world champion titles, over 500 athletes from 80 countries will compete before packed audiences and international media.
Since its first edition in 1903 in Antwerp, Belgium, the FIG Championships have served as the definitive precursor to the Olympic games, giving gymnastics fans a chance to cheer on renowned champions and keep tabs on up-and-comers with their sights set on the gold. With 2017 marking the start of the 2020 Olympics cycle, what happens in Montréal sets the stage for the next three years of competitive gymnastics.
Flipping for gymnastics
As one of the top three most popular World Championships in Olympic sports, an estimated 660-million viewers worldwide will have their eyes on Montréal throughout the competition. The 50,000 spectators filling the stands at the Olympic Stadium over the course of the event will provide those hushed silences, unforgettable reaction shots, and celebratory applause expected from the utmost level of gymnastic competition.
Over four categories for women (vault, uneven bars, beam, floor exercises) and six for men (floor exercises, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars, horizontal bar), many noted Olympic and World champions will compete to keep their titles, including Kohei Uchimura (Japan), Oleg Verniaiev (Ukraine), Epke Zonderland (Netherlands), Yang Hak-seon (Korea), Marian Dragulescu (Romania), Sanne Wevers(Netherlands), and Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan). Newer faces on the scene will face their biggest audiences yet in preparation for their Tokyo 2020 dreams.
An Olympian setting and the queen of the 1976 Montréal Games
As the only Canadian city to have previously held the FIG Championships in 1985, Montréal joins the rare list of repeat host cities for the event. Montréal’s world-class Olympic Stadium has previously been host to internationally noted sporting events since the 1976 games for which it was built, including that year’s record-breaking score of a perfect 10 on the uneven bars achieved by Romania’s Nadia Comaneci.
Crowned then as the Queen of Montréal, Comaneci returns to the site of her past glory as the official spokesperson for the Championships. Her inspirational achievements still resonate 41 years on, and this Montréal homecoming acts as sweet punctuation as part of Montréal’s 375th birthday celebrations of which the FIG Championships also play a part.
A continued legacy
Maintaining Montréal’s role as an Olympic city, the FIG World Artistic Gymnastics Championships will also leave a long-felt impression in both the city and throughout Canada. Above and beyond an estimated $38-million economic spinoff for the city of Montréal, the palpable sporting, material, and financial legacy to the Canadian gymnastics community will be long felt. More immediately, the world class equipment used during the championships will be donated to local artistic gymnastics clubs giving young athletes in Montréal the opportunity to touch the same rings, bars, and pommel horses as the world’s top athletes.