The World Police & Fire Games, one of the largest sporting events in the world, is underway in Fairfax Virginia. More than 12,000 athletes from 70 countries have gathered to compete in the Olympic-style events ranging from table tennis to ice hockey to cross fit. In all, more than 60 different types of sports and events take place during the games, with the ultimate goal of seeing just which branch can take home the most medals.
The World Police and Fire Games started out as the California Police Olympics back in 1967. The event is run by the California Police Athletic Federation (CPAF) and is held every other year. Back in 1985, the CPAF began including firefighters and EMTs in the events and changed the name to the World Police & Fire Games. Since the inclusion of other branches of civil servants, the games have not only become much bigger, but have also grown fiercely competitive.
Take, for example, the World Police and Fire Games’ Ice Hockey competition. Not only is the competition between different fire and police teams competitive and stacked with people in top physical condition thanks to their day jobs, but several former NHL players are competing in the games. One of those players, former Stanley Cup champion Steve Kelly, explained to reporters that the competitive atmosphere in these games is serious business.
“It’s no different than when I was playing,” Kelly told USA Today. Kelly, who won a Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 2000, became a police officer shortly after retiring from the NHL. “They’re a bunch of guys that are take-charge sort of people. You get out on the ice, and everyone is competitive and guys want to win.”
Another, more unique competition at the games is known as the “Toughest Competitor Alive” competition. The event starts with a 5k at 7 a.m. After a quick snack break, competitors take turns hurling a shot put, then run a 100 meter dash, then a 100 meter swim. The exhausted competitors then go through a vertical rope climb, bench press competition, and series of pull-ups. Finally, the competitors brave an obstacle course where they’re scaling fences, monkey bars, tires, dragging dummies, climbing walls, and full-on sprinting.
The games, which run through July 5th, have gone, in large part, to Law Enforcement athletes thus far. At the time of this writing, Law Enforcement has brought home a total of 1423 medals (580 gold, 469 silver, and 374 bronze) with Firefighters tallying 579 (229 gold, 191 Silver, and 160 bronze). As is often the case in the Olympic Games, the United States has taken a commanding lead in the medal counts, bringing home 801 medals thus far.
Visit the official World Police & Fire Games website by clicking here for a full breakdown of each event.