Learn more about World Games
- This article is about the real-life event. There is also the World Games computer game.
The World Games, first held in 1981, are an international multi-sport event, meant for sports 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 than many of the World Games sports will be elevated to the Olympic sports.
Some of the sports that are currently held at the World Games are orienteering, body building, powerlifting, finswimming, squash, netball, water skiing, and casting. The sports that are included in the World Games are based on 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 competed, but no medals are awarded. Even if some sports are official sports of the IWGA, they still can be classified as invitational by the hosting city.
 Sites and years of the World Games
- 1981: Santa Clara, California, United States
- 1985: London, England, United Kingdom
- 1989: Karlsruhe, West Germany
- 1993: The Hague, Netherlands
- 1997: Lahti, Finland
- 2001: Akita, Japan
- 2005: Duisburg, Germany
 World Games sports
 Official sports and disciplines
 Invitational sports
- American football
- Dragon boat race
- Gateball 
- Military pentathlon 
- Pesäpallo 
 Past World Games sports
- Lacrosse - last contested in 1989 
- Sambo - Last contested in 1989 (may return to World Games) 
 Sports no longer eligible for World Games
- Badminton - became an Olympic sport at the 1992 Summer Olympics
- Baseball - became an Olympic sport (removed from 2012 Summer Olympics program; may return to World Games in 2009)
- Softball - became an Olympic sport (removed from 2012 Summer Olympics program; may return to World Games in 2009)
- Taekwondo - became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Trampoline - certain individual events became Olympic sports at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Triathlon - became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics
- Weightlifting (women) - became an Olympic sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics. (men never competed in weightlifting in the World Games because it has been in all summer olympics since 1920.)