The 2017 World Games is a few months away, and the Team USA bowlers are ready to add to the success they found at the event four years ago.
The tournament will be held at Sky Bowling in Wroclaw, Poland, from July 21-24 as part of the 11-day, multi-sport World Games.
Among the four players selected to represent the United States this year will be Kelly Kulick of Union, New Jersey, often recognized as a trailblazer in the sport. Her selection returns her to a role she filled for her country at the World Games in 2013.
Kulick, a 13-time member of Team USA, will be joined in Wroclaw by Danielle McEwan of Stony Point, New York, Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and Team USA rookie Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona.
At the 2013 event in Cali, Colombia, Kulick and longtime Professional Bowlers Association Tour standout Mike Fagan became the first bowlers from the United States to claim gold medals at the World Games, an event that has been held every four years since 1981.
“I am over the moon to have the opportunity to bowl in the World Games again,” Kulick said. “I will be in the middle of the PWBA Tour season, so I will be sharp as an ax. I’m also excited for my fellow teammates, and I know we will make an impression in Poland.”
The World Games is an international multi-sport event for sports, disciplines or events within a sport, that are not contested in the Olympic Games.
It is organized and governed by the International World Games Association (IWGA), under the patronage of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The event showcases more than 25 sports and approximately 4,500 athletes and officials from more than 100 countries. The athletes will compete for medals in nearly 180 total disciplines.
Until Kulick and Fagan broke through for the mixed doubles gold medal at the 2013 event, the United States had earned just five World Games medals – two silver and three bronze – in eight appearances. Kulick added a silver medal in singles in 2013, too.
Other World Games medals for Team USA include: Andrew Cain with singles bronze in 2005 and Vernon Peterson and Darold Meisel with silver in singles in 1997 and 1989, respectively.
For the U.S. women, Patty Ann won a singles bronze medal in 1989, while Mary Lou Vining won singles bronze in 1981. The United States had never medaled in mixed doubles.
Representatives from each of bowling’s three zones (American, Asian and European) will head to Wroclaw in July. Each zone will send five countries, while a team from the host nation rounds out the field at 16 countries.
Joining the United States from the Pan American Bowling Confederation (PABCON) will be Canada, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.
Team USA, Colombia and Venezuela qualified through the PABCON Champion of Champions event in April 2016, while Canada and Mexico earned their spots during the PABCON Adult Championships in September 2016.
Women’s singles at the 2017 World Games will take place on July 21, men’s singles will be contested July 22, women’s doubles will be July 23 and men’s doubles is scheduled for July 24.
“The format changes at the World Games show how much the sport of bowling is growing globally, and including four players from each country now means a truer showcase of the world’s top talent,” said Team USA High Performance Director Tennelle Milligan. “We expect top-notch competition and an Olympic-like experience. It will be exciting for the competitors and the fans, and it’s special anytime bowling can be in the spotlight.”