2020 Commonwealth Games announce new sports, changes to this year

Opening Ceremonies will be held virtually as well

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Virginia Amateur Sports (VAS) announced today some exciting news for the 2020 Virginia Commonwealth Games. 2020 has presented an opportunity for some unique and exciting twists to the Games, as well as a very special guest and past participant. We are pleased and excited to announce our special guest, Olympic Gold Medalist for 2020 is – Francena McCorory. Francena is a Virginia native and past participant of the Virginia Commonwealth Games. A graduate of Bethel High School and Hampton University, she represents Team USA in Track & Field. McCorory earned gold medals in 2012 and 2016 for while competing in the Women’s 4x400m relay. She also set the NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field 400m record in 2010.

There are 2 new sports this year – Adult Kickball and Esports. Esports will not be the only virtual event happening as part of the 2020 Games, we are excited to offer Chess in a virtual format and the Air Rifle and BB Gun competitions will be occurring in a “postal” format. These unique and innovative changes are allowing athletes to compete from wherever they are and provide chances for those that may not be able to participate under regular formats due to travel. Another exciting addition for this year, is the Live Streaming of the All Star Baseball Tournament games on Saturday and Sunday (provided by Liberty University). The All Star Baseball Showcase Tournament starts this weekend – July 17-19, and the link for viewing those Games, as well as the team rosters are on our website.

There are 3 events kicking off this weekend – Adult Softball (Peaksview Park), Pickleball (Liberty University) and All Star Baseball (Liberty University). A record number of Adult Softball teams will be vying for those Gold medals. Main Games weekend (July 24-26), is bringing some sports records as well, with 98 Youth Softball teams set to play around the greater Lynchburg area and a record number of High School baseball teams playing in Lynchburg and Roanoke as well. It is sure to be a great weekend of competition.

The Tailgate Party and Opening Ceremonies are each getting a new format for 2020, the Tailgate party will be a fun Drive-Thru format - athletes will still receive their complimentary food with their Games wristband, as well as some extra goodies. This will take place from 6-8pm on Friday, July 24th near the Liberty Indoor Track Complex. More information will be on our website as the details evolve. Opening Ceremonies is going virtual, it will be streaming via Facebook Live on Friday, July 24th from 8-8:30 with music, Miss VA – Dot Kelly and Olympic Gold Medalist – Francena McCorory lighting the cauldron and kicking off the Games. There will be a fireworks show at 8:30pm, we are encouraging everyone to position their vehicles safely distanced in a couple of locations around campus, the fireworks will go off from Williams Stadium.

As with everything in 2020 thus far, safety is of the highest priority, in regards to not only our athletes, officials, coordinators, spectators and volunteers, but also the greater community as a whole. The safety recommendations for each sport as well as the guidelines from the CDC and the Governor’s office can be found on our website – CommonwealthGames.org/covid19 – it is being constantly updated as recommendations shift and sports adjust. There will also be plenty of signage related to safety at all of our venues, throughout the competitions and events.