Let the Games Begin
Shelby Richardson, president of the United States Amateur Tug of War Association, is excited to bring the sport’s world championships home to Madison
Head to Olin Park August 28-31 to watch the World Tug of War Championship.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHELBY RICHARDSON
What is the Tug of War International Federation?
It is the governing body of Tug of War worldwide. There are more than seventy member countries. The TWIF is the governing body of Worldwide Tug of War.
What is the organization’s world championships?
World Championships are held every two years. Teams compete in the open club competition and closed country competition. Each country enters just one team in the closed country event, versus the club competition in which countries may enter multiple teams. The open competition is Thursday and Friday and the closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Why was Madison chosen as the site for this year’s championships?
It has always been a dream for me that Madison host the event … I have always thought Madison would be a perfect site to host this championships. The hospitality industry is awesome, things to do in Madison are plenty and Madison welcomes visitors with arms wide open. Members of our association travel a lot for our sport, and to host a world championships in Madison only makes sense, to showcase our beautiful city and, of course, our country!
What’s it like to compete in tug of war?
Tug of war is a total-body workout. It is a feeling of oneness—whether the team wins or loses, it is done together with seven other people.
What are some common misconceptions about tug of war?
There are two main misconceptions: We do not pull over a body or water or mud! Secondly, not only big people compete. We have different weight classes and age groups. Our athletes are very fit and train extensively to compete.
What attracted you to the sport?
I enjoyed the camaraderie and the aspect of being part of a team. I also enjoyed the travel and meeting new people from around the world.
How do teammates work together in tug of war?
Teams work their bodies’ leverage and strength to move the other team. Well-trained, disciplined athletes work together to make this happen.
What conditions are good or bad for tug of war?
We compete in all types of conditions. The only time we will not compete is when it is lightening.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s championships?
My greatest hope that one of the USA teams will win a medal! I look forward to seeing old friends from around the world and of course meeting new people.
The 2014 World Tug of War Championship takes place August 28–31 at Olin Park. For details, visit tugofwar-twif.org.