A Rich Oregon History
That began in 1986
When he was in office, Gov. Vic Atiyeh understood the many benefits sports brings to society and created a group of dedicated volunteers to promote healthy lifestyles and get Oregonians to be more active. When he left office, those volunteers formed the non-profit Oregon Amateur Sports Foundation (OASF) to carry on the great work of the Council. The State Games of Oregon was the brainchild of the OASF. Since 1986, the State Games have provided hundreds of thousands of athletes, of all ages and all abilities, the opportunity to get involved and get moving. Our goal is to continue to offer quality Olympic-style sports events, at an affordable price, for all Oregonians.
1986: The inaugural games
The State Games of Oregon opens its inaugural year with much fanfare. A Torch Run from the State Capitol, led by then Senate President John Kitzhaber, brings the ceremonial flame into Portland’s Civic Stadium (now Providence Park). Governor Vic Atiyeh and his wife Delores arrive on the field via helicopter and a laser light show entertains the thousands of athletes and volunteers that marched into the stadium. 4,003 athletes compete in 11 sports.
By the Numbers
Number of State Games programs around the country
Age of youngest competitor
Age of oldest competitor
Number of different sports offered in the games throughout the years
Number of consecutive statewide multi-sport competitions conducted by OASF
The largest growing demographic in the Games
Number of Oregon counties represented in the Games
Number of Oregonians that have competed since the beginning
Average number of Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals awarded each year
Number of officials and volunteers needed to run the Games
Number of generations of one family that have competed in the same sport
Number of State Games of America competitions in which Oregon was represented
Bowling is among six new sports added to the State Games line-up of sports and overall participant count more than doubles, surpassing 10,000 athletes in just its third year of existence. Regional competition is also introduced for the first time with events in Bend, Medford and Eugene.
The National Congress of State Games (NCSG) of which the State Games of Oregon is a member, is voted into Board Membership of the United States Olympic Committee. The NCSG currently is an active member of the Multi-Sport Organization Council, a division of the USOC.
The State Games continues to add new sports and more athletes, reaching 15,730 participants.
Ed Thomas is the oldest athlete to compete in the State Games. At 101 years young, he sets age group World Records every time he splashes in the pool. He was captain of the University of California swim team in 1915 and swam against notable swimmers like Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic swimmer and the “Godfather of Surfing, and Johnny Weissmuller, better known on the big screen as Tarzan.
The Oregon Amateur Sports Foundation introduces its Learn to Shoot Hoops skill clinics. More than 1,200 boys and girls in grades 3-8 learn fundamental skills from area high school coaches. The high schools earn money for their sport programs while kids have fun learning.
The National Congress of State Games is awarded the prestigious Rings of Gold by the United States Olympic Committee. The award recognizes programs “making a difference in the lives of children by bringing the Olympic Movement and its ideals to the playing field.
Inaugural State Games of America is held in the greater St. Louis area. Medal winners from State Games programs around the country compete to earn the title of national champion. 15 sports are offered with athletes from 32 states entered.
The Games fully embrace “current technology” and begins offering athletes the ability to register online for the event. Medal winners from State Games programs around the country compete to earn the title of national champion. 15 sports are offered with athletes from 32 states entered.
The State Games of Oregon athlete t-shirt is recognized nationally as the “Best State Games T-shirt” by the National Congress of State Games.
The Games partner with the Triple-A Portland Beavers baseball team to recognize some medal winners on the field before the first pitch.
The Games mark their 25th Anniversary with a special medal – the first time a new medal design is introduced. The Games also takes the leap into social media, debuting both a Facebook page and our first tweet. 66 year old Stephen Peirce enters 23 different track and field events, all over two days and is nominated for and named the National Congress of State Games Male Athlete of the Year award.
The State Games of Oregon is again recognized for its outstanding t-shirt designs, winning back to back Best T-Shirt awards from the National Congress of State Games. The designs, by Gwen Patch with Print Media Productions, were a big hit with participants as well.
The Games add an Instagram account to their social media platforms.
Dan Duffy, the State Games of Oregon Executive Director and the President of the National Congress of State Games, helps to open the State Games of America with Olympic Track and Field athlete Lolo Jones.
Oregon athlete Don “Boomer” McCrea is named the National Congress of State Games Male Athlete of the Year. Boomer happily accepts his award at the annual TEAMS Sports Awards Banquet in Atlantic City, NJ.
The Games launches a new website!
Every year, a new logo
A tradition we’ve continued since our founding, a local designer is commissioned to design a new logo each year that embodies the spirit of the Games and the styles of the times. Click below to view the gallery.