The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports, or disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games. The World Games are organised and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Some of the sports that were on the program of the World Games eventually made it as Olympic sports (such as triathlon) or have been Olympic sports in the past (like tug of war). Participation in past World Games is included in the evaluation criteria used to select new Olympic sports adopted by the IOC on August 12, 2004. However, with the current position of the IOC to limit the Olympic Games to 10,500 participants, it is unlikely that many of the World Games sports will be elevated to Olympic sports.
Some of the sports that are currently held at the World Games are ultimate, orienteering, body building, powerlifting, finswimming, squash, netball, water skiing, casting, etc. The sports that are included in the World Games are limited by the facilities available in the host city; no new facilities may be constructed for the games. Typically, between 25 and 35 sports are contested at any particular World Games. Sports that have been classified as "invitational" are still played, but no medals are awarded. Even if some sports are official sports of the IWGA, they can be classified as invitational by the hosting city.