Spirit Together. That was the motto at the Winter World Masters Games, the world’s biggest winter sports festival for people over 30 years old. More than 3000 athletes from 58 countries competed in figure skating, speed skating, skiing, ski jumping, curling, and other disciplines. Every evening was capped off with a medal ceremony and live entertainment ranging from a silent disco DJ battle to Tyrolean folk dancing.
I didn’t know what to expect from the games, but I was blown away from the first day I attended. The athletes are so inspiring and it was genuinely heartwarming to see the way they interacted. During the competitions and while running around town.
If you were out at a restaurant, bar or the slopes during the games, you would have bumped into some of the athletes. I met Mexican figure skaters while dining at Nguyen’s and the Australian synchronized ice skating team at the Irish pub in old town.
Two teams that encapsulated the “Spirit Together” motto. The Brisbane Rusty Blades, winners of the bronze in Ice Hockey and Team Storms, winners of the silver in Synchronized Ice Skating. The Rusty Blades had members from four different countries. Team Storm showed a level of camaraderie that really made me catch feelings while watching them prepare to compete and celebrating after their performance.
The mix of people proudly representing their country and the buzz they brought to the city reminded me of being at the ‘94 FIFA World Cup in the U.S. The big difference with the Winter World Masters Games is the fact that you get to meet and interact with the athletes. In fact, I caught up with a few members of of the Rusty Blades to learn more about their experience in Innsbruck:
I was so excited to see a familiar face playing on one of the hockey teams representing Innsbruck too:
I was there to cheer for the local teams, but after meeting so many of the athletes, I couldn’t resist cheering them on during their competitions as well. Before the games, I couldn’t imagine myself watching figure skating, but I have been converted to a fan.
I was able to attend many of the figure skating competitions and hockey matches at Olympiaworld and even made it up to Patscherkofel for some of the skiing events. I’ve been back to Patscherkofel since the events and it’s really cool to think about riding the same slopes as the Winter World Masters Games competitors. Albeit way slower, but still cool to think about.
Masters Village at Maria-Theresien-Straße
Maria-Theresien-Straße served as the epicenter of the games. Award ceremonies and live performances from various genres kept the energy going into the night.
Matakustix rocked the crowd with their unique mix of brass band and beatboxing. The crowd was really amped during their entire performance. At one point the entire crowd got into conga line formation and snaked back and forth to the surprise of the band. They even stopped their song to give them a hand for their energy. It was really cool to see the crowd motivate the performers.
Silent Disco was another first for me. I’ve never thought about attending one and now I feel like this has been a huge opportunity for fun. The two DJs kept everyone dancing all night long.
The Winter World Masters Games experience was so much fun. I had many firsts and look forward to seeing more events like this.
Make sure to check out the Innsbruck Calendar to find more events like this during your visit!