As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, New York City—and Lehman College—are set to play host to the 2011 World Police and Fire Games. Since 1985, this event has brought members of these two service agencies together from around the world in the name of athletic competition. Due to the impending storm, however, events previously scheduled at Lehman for August 26 and 27 are cancelled. Please check back on the Lehman website to see when the games will resume.
Normally held to create community interaction and awareness, educate children on the benefits of sport, and develop camaraderie among members of the emergency services, the Games will take on added meaning this year with two themes, remembrance and gratitude, designed to recall the acts of heroism performed on that fateful day as well as to thank those from around the world for their contributions to New York’s recovery effort.
Thirty-five venues across the City, including Lehman College, which will act as a main hub, and nearby Van Cortlandt Park, will host over 16,000 police and firefighters competing in 65 events over the 11-day competition. Events range from the popular (basketball; baseball) to the obscure (tug-of-war; wrist wrestling).
Lehman’s APEX Center will host nine days of competition focusing on swimming (Aug. 27-29), racquetball (Aug. 28-30), and handball (Aug. 31-Sept. 2), as well as a Toughest Competitor Alive Competition (Aug. 31-Sept. 3) comprised of a 20-foot rope climb, bench press, pull-ups, and an obstacle course.
“The Lehman Athletics Department is extremely proud to be associated with the 2011 World Police and Fire Games,” said Lehman Athletic Director Dr. Martin L. Zwiren. “To be able to play a part in honoring the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day, as well as those who were lost ten years ago on 9/11, is something we take very seriously. We cannot thank them enough.”
The Games have grown into a biennial event that attracts athletes from over seventy countries worldwide. In fact, the Games are now the second largest multi-sport event in the world, behind only the Summer Olympics. This year will mark the first time the Games have been held on the East Coast of the United States, with the last two Games held in British Columbia (’09) and Australia (’07). Belfast in Northern Ireland will assume hosting duties in 2013.