If you ask most players what they see as the pinnacle of ultimate is, they’ll say the World Games. It’s a multi-sport event, it’s quadrennial, there’s a very limited number of teams invited and even then, the rosters are hugely down on what you’d usually expect from an international team; it’s got the Olympic sheen on rarity of both occurrence and opportunity.
Great Britain has played in the World Games twice before, in 2009 and 2013. The last edition in 2017 did not feature a British team as GB was ranked below the top five teams – the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia and Colombia – and the host nation always gets the last spot, which in that case was Poland. Getting a spot in this tournament isn’t a given, although the expansion to eight teams has boosted the chances a bit, so even sending a team is incredibly special.
So, this is about as big as it gets. Being in the running for the World Games squad is a badge of honour and something that people involved in all three squads can be immensely proud of, including those who were part of the training squad and those who travelled as reserves. With that in mind, and ahead of the World Games starting on Tuesday next week, I spoke to some of the players involved in this year’s squad.
Some of the players I talked to will be playing in Alabama and trying to secure GB’s best-ever finish (fifth in ’09 and sixth in ’13, both before the field was expanded to eight). Some will be travelling but not playing. Some will be watching with everyone else at home but with an added investment in the outcome, and added anxiety watching their teammates compete in such high-pressure games.
The interviews will be published over the next few days, and on Tuesday I’ll be taking a closer look at what I think might happen in the tournament as a whole. When the games start I’ll be posting on our social media channels and we’ll have reactions coming as well. Follow the ShowGame on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter to join in the discussion and follow along on the hype!
In the meantime, you can listen to the podcast I did with GB coach Sam Vile below.