The spirit of competition and sportsmanship is alive and well on Liberty Mountain for the Virginia Commonwealth Games at Liberty University. Liberty has welcomed thousands of amateur athletes to campus to compete in a variety of sports at Liberty’s state-of-the-art athletics facilities during Main Games Weekend, which began on Friday. This is the seventh consecutive year that Liberty University has served as a primary sponsor and host.
“Liberty University is proud to continue its partnership with Virginia Amateur Sports as we host the 2022 Virginia Commonwealth Games here on campus (and) these talented athletes exhibit their skills and determination during competitions,” Liberty President Jerry Prevo said.
Organized by Virginia Amateur Sports (VAS), the Games promote health, fitness, and character-building through Olympic-style competitions, allowing athletes of all ages opportunities to build new friendships, set personal goals and bests, and demonstrate teamwork and sportsmanship in an atmosphere of friendly competition.
More than 100 basketball teams — playing over 400 games on more than a dozen courts between the LaHaye Recreation & Fitness Center, Liberty Arena, and nearby Liberty Christian Academy — account for the largest number of athletes. Other sports held on campus this weekend include baseball, beach volleyball, softball, tennis, track and field, and ultimate. Last weekend, the Games opened with adult softball and All-Star baseball, pickleball and racquetball, as well as skiing and snowboarding at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre.
“The athletics facilities at Liberty University are some of the best in the country, if not the world,” VAS President Dan Foutz said during a pre-Games press conference on July 14. “They are just fantastic.”
Liberty Athletic Director Ian McCaw concurred as he welcomed the amateur athletes to utilize the on-campus venues.
“We are blessed with a beautiful campus and some amazing athletics facilities, so to be able to offer those to the 2022 Commonwealth Games competitors and their families and the guests and everyone that will be a part of the Main Games Weekend, we are certainly excited and very honored to do that,” he said during the press conference. “The Games would not go off without great teamwork and a tremendous number of volunteers who dedicate their time. The City of Lynchburg does so much to make this event a success, and Dan and his team from Virginia Amateur Sports are absolutely first-class operators of the Games.”
Opening Ceremonies took place Friday night in the Liberty Indoor Football Practice Facility followed by a tailgate party that spilled out onto the outdoor practice field with games and food available for participants and their families. The theme was “Women in Sports” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the implementation of Title IX, which has helped raise female participation in high school sports alone from fewer than 300,000 in 1971 to nearly 4 million today. Besides McCaw and Lynchburg Mayor Mary Jane Dolan, Friday night’s festivities included inspirational video messages from three female Olympic medalists, including former University of Virginia basketball player and current South Carolina Head Coach Dawn Staley, and the lighting of the cauldron by Commonwealth Games Youth Female Athlete of the Year and National Congress of State Games Athlete of the Year Olivia Goodwin, a 12-year-old swimmer who has battled a heart condition to compete in the Games.