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World Games venue changes drone racing, speed skating to the “very heart of the city”

Drone racing is moving to Protective Stadium from Barber Motorsports Park, and the track speed skating competition is moving to the Powell Steam Plant.

Protective Stadium in downtown Birmingham.

The World Games 2022 is announcing changes in venues for the drone racing and speed skating competitions – moves that will enhance experiences for athletes and fans.

The competition for drone racing is moving to Protective Stadium from Barber Motorsports Park, and the track speed skating competition is moving to the Powell Steam Plant, located on 18th Street adjacent to Railroad Park, from the Birmingham CrossPlex.

This is the same inline speed skating competition that Olympic gold medalist Erin Jackson competed in for the United States during The World Games 2017 in Poland. Jackson made history last week as the first Black woman to win a gold medal in Olympic ice speed skating.  

“Moving drone racing and speed skating to downtown Birmingham brings both of these action-packed competitions to the very heart of the city,” said Nick Sellers, CEO of The World Games 2022. “These changes offer us another tremendous opportunity to show the entire world all that Birmingham has to offer as the Magic City truly comes of age with the exciting redevelopment taking place in the Railroad Park area and our newest venue, Protective Stadium.”

“The Powell Steam Plant is a national landmark that played a vital role in the story of Birmingham’s growth,” said Jonathan Porter, Chair of the Birmingham Organizing Committee for The World Games 2022 and Senior Vice President of Customer Operations for Alabama Power Company. “With an array of entertainment options nearby, it is the perfect site for speed skating fans and athletes.” 

Tad Snider, Executive Director and CEO of the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority (BJCC), which owns and operates Protective Stadium, said, “Drone racing is an incredible competition that will light up the night, and we look forward to hosting it at Protective Stadium, Alabama’s newest state-of-the-art, multi-use facility. The stadium also sits adjacent to City Walk Bham, the site of The World Games Plaza, where there will be so many free entertainment options for spectators and competitors to enjoy.”

Barber Motorsports Park will remain the venue for the canopy piloting competition, where athletes parachute from a helicopter, land on a target and are judged based on accuracy, speed and distance.

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The Birmingham CrossPlex will remain the venue for several competitions including wheelchair rugby, canoe polo, finswimming, inline hockey and others.

The competition for a second discipline of speed skating – road speed skating – will be held on downtown city streets on a course that will be determined and announced at a later date.

“As exciting as speed skating is, can you imagine just how much more thrilling it will be to watch international athletes go zipping by on streets in downtown Birmingham?” asked Sellers. “It’s going to be an incredible sight that is just one part of this amazing, once-in-a-lifetime event called The World Games 2022.”

The World Games 2022 will take place July 7 to 17 and will generate an estimated $256 million in economic impact. Roughly 500,000 visitors are expected to experience this new generation of global sports competition that will feature 3,600 elite athletes from more than 100 countries.

Individuals who have previously purchased tickets to drone racing or speed skating will receive an email notifying them of the venue changes.

Written By

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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