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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 354-99
July 29, 1999

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SENDS COMPETITORS TO MILITARY WORLD GAMES

The Department of Defense, through the Armed Forces Sports Council (AFSC), has made arrangements to participate in the 2nd Military World Games under the auspices of Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM).

The games will be held in Zagreb, Croatia, from Aug. 5 to 18, 1999, and attended by an estimated 8,000 athletes and officials from nearly 80 countries. The United States will send more than 350 athletes and officials from all the military Services, including the Coast Guard, to compete in 21 of the 24 events.

The events are divided into four categories: combat sports, military disciplines, individual sports, and team sports. Orienteering, parachuting and naval pentathlon (a combination of endurance events on land and water) are included with traditional sporting events like boxing, basketball, soccer, swimming, and wrestling.

The first quadrennial Military World Games were held four years ago in Rome, Italy, and drew more than 6,500 participants from more than 65 countries. The United States placed 8th in total medals during the the 1995 competition.

The United States is one of CISM's 122 member nations. Its members represent all continents and include Russia, China, North and South Korea, and Iran. CISM is the second largest sporting organization in the world, surpassed only by the International Olympic Committee.

CISM also holds annual championships in individual sports, many of which are conducted in the United States. The organization traces its history back to 1919 when the Allied Military Sports Council was founded by U.S. Army Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces of World War I. In later years, it became known as the International Military Sports Council, or more popularly, by its French acronym, CISM. The organization is headquartered in Brussels.

For more information on the Military World Games, contact Bill Begel at the Armed Forces Sports Council at (703) 681-7201. The council will also maintain a web page to provide the latest information on the event at http://dticam.dtic.mil/dodsports.

U.S. military officials are planning a send off ceremony for the American competitors on Aug. 4, 1999, at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md. The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Army LTC Willie Davenport, a gold medallist at the 1968 Olympics in the 110 meter hurdles. The ceremony will be hosted by Vice Adm. Daniel T. Oliver, the deputy chief of Naval Operations, and start at 9:45 a.m. EDT in the post theater. For more information on the send off ceremony, contact the Pat McClung of the Aberdeen Public Affairs Office at (410) 278-1153.

There are also plans for a Welcome Home Reception on Aug. 18, 1999, at the BWI Airport, Baltimore. The ceremony is tentatively scheduled to begin at noon. For more information on this ceremony, contact Adrienne Schultz, director of the United Services Organization Center at BWI, at (410) 859-1117.