Canadian student-athletes visit Flint for CANUSA Games

FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) – Flint is hosting athletes from Hamilton, Ont., to compete in the 64th Annual CANUSA Games this weekend.

Student-athletes will compete in a variety of athletic competitions during the three-day event. CANUSA is the last international Olympic competition in North America.

The opening ceremony kicked off at the Dort Federal Event Center on Friday, August 5. The closing ceremony will take place behind Flint City Hall on Sunday, August 7.

“That CANUSA is the longest running event of its kind in North America is a testament to our and our sister city’s commitment to brotherhood and community involvement,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “Since 1958, children and adults in Flint and Hamilton have grown up with the games as an institution that promotes cooperation, competition and friendship.”

The 2022 CANUSA games will feature men’s baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, bowling, darts, golf, ice hockey, pickleball, skeet, men’s and women’s soccer, swimming, track and field and women’s volleyball.

Visiting student-athletes are hosted by local families, allowing them to experience what Flint has to offer.

For the first time since 2019, the CANUSA Games are back in person. Tony Sitko, overall co-chair of the games, is thrilled to see international junior Olympians from Flint and Hamilton, Ont., competing this weekend in the city of vehicles.

“Being able to work together and make these games happen every summer, rotating venues between the Home venues, Flint and Hamilton each year means a lot to our communities,” Sitko said.

Local businesses are anticipating a boost from the big event.

“We have a full staff ready to serve,” said Jamie Isaacson is the house manager at 501 Bar and Grill in downtown Flint.

Isaacson said the games are another reminder that Flint is on the rise.

“I enjoy watching the area slowly return to what it once was in its former glory. There’s a lot more going on downtown these days,” Isaacson said.

Sitko said this year’s games will honor CANUAS members who have passed away over the past three years.

“Our digital board is scrolling and in our program we have 29 people in our family that we have lost during this pandemic. And so this year is an important year for us to honor them, honor their families,” Sitko said.

Naomi C. Amerson