More recently, Willie Banks was introduced as president of the team organizing the inaugural, now-downsized event. He's expected to lead a team that hopes to recruit 5,000 volunteers to stage the novice World Beach Games.
Banks, formerly of the USA Track and Field board of directors, has experience organizing international sports events having been deputy events director of the monthlong FIFA World Cup in the United States in 1994. He also directed athlete services at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and was a consultant to Olympic-bid cities Stockholm and Osaka. He also aided with Chicago’s bid for the 2012 Games, which went to London.
With a far smaller budget than first envisioned ($50 million instead of $135 million), the still-ambitious event aims to draw athletes from 206 nations — member countries of the Association of National Olympic Committees. Athletes will compete in 19 sports not contested in the Summer Games.
Included are three-on-three basketball, four-on-four volleyball, beach versions of handball, soccer, tennis and wrestling, plus BMX “Big Air,” surfing, triathlon, marathon swimming, water polo, windsurfing, ocean canoeing, wake board and karate.
San Diego was awarded the games a year ago, with a fall 2017 debut. But ANOC pressed San Diego to delay the event expected to draw 100,000 spectators to Mission Beach.
“We are fortunate in San Diego to have some of the most iconic beaches in the world and we have no doubt they will provide a breath-taking setting for the first ever ANOC World Beach Games in 2019, said Vincent E. Mudd, chairman of the San Diego Local Organizing Committee, previously about the upcoming Mission Beach games. “We look forward to welcoming the world to our city for an unforgettable and unique sporting experience."