Canadian student-athletes visit Flint for CANUSA games

Flint is welcoming athletes from Hamilton, Ontario to take part in the 64th annual CANUSA games this weekend.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 2:18 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WNEM) - Flint is welcoming athletes from Hamilton, Ontario to take part in the 64th annual CANUSA games this weekend.

Student-athletes will compete in a variety of sports 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, Aug. 5. The closing ceremony will be behind Flint City Hall on Sunday, Aug. 7.

“The fact that CANUSA is the longest running event of its kind in North America is a testament to ours and our sister city’s commitment to fellowship and community engagement,” Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. “Since 1958, kids and adults alike from both Flint and Hamilton have grown up with the games as an institution that promotes cooperation, competition and friendship.”

The 2022 CANUSA games will feature boys baseball, boys and girls basketball, bowling, darts, golf, ice hockey, pickleball, skeet, boys and girls soccer, swimming, track and field, and girls volleyball.

The 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, general co-chairman of the games, is thrilled to see international junior Olympic athletes from Flint and Hamilton, Ontario compete this weekend in the vehicle city.

“To be able to work together and have these games take place each and every summer, alternating sites between home venues, Flint and Hamilton each year, it 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 front of the house manager at 501 Bar and Grill in downtown Flint.

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

“I’m loving watching the area slowly come back to where it once was in its former glory. There’s a lot more things going on downtown these days,” Isaacson said.

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

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