2022 in review: UAB’s gold-medal performance

Written by 

From start to finish, Blazers helped make the World Games 2022 a spectacular experience: The UAB community’s hospitality helped create a place for athletes to eat, sleep and compete. Countless hours of planning and effort made the campus grounds and facilities shine. Competitors and spectators alike were provided the best possible medical care. Watchful eyes made sure the events and athletes were safe and secure, and the UAB community filled volunteer rosters in service and competition venues as fans and supporters.

Day after day, contributions from Blazers made it possible for the Games to make athletes’ dreams come true and entertain fans while giving them a peek at the wealth of talent and creativity nurtured on UAB’s campus.

Matthew Mckenzie

After experiencing a stroke during childhood, Matthew McKenzie, UAB alum and credentialed course instructor in the School of Education, decided not to let his dream of becoming a professional athlete fade away. Instead, he fought back, working to become a ju-jitsu expert and participating in tournaments across the U.S. — culminating in competing in the World Games 2022.

Dining Commons Grid Widget   4

UAB Campus Dining had a lot on its plate for the World Games. They were tasked with serving 10,000 meals to up to 3,400 diners per day, all while navigating labor and supply chain challenges and meeting impeccable food safety standards. How did they do it? Simple. They had a recipe for success, and it called for equal parts experience, efficiency, quality and taste, garnished with a side of good ol’ Southern hospitality.

Gold Hall Prep

The largest team ever in UAB Student Housing and Residence Life worked diligently this summer transforming Blazer, Blount, Camp, Gold, McMahon and Rast halls into the Athletes' Village — doing everything from painting and patching drywall to moving and repairing furniture and packaging room keys for distribution. 

Lacrosse 3

Senior Zach Eagen, president of UAB’s Men’s Lacrosse club team, had a front-row seat to the action as liaison for the World Games teams from Israel. The chance to watch the lacrosse world’s best in person boosted an already-growing sport in Birmingham and across the state, Eagen said.


Morgan Peach, graduate assistant in UAB Student Housing and Residence Life, created a series of training videos in Spanish to familiarize World Games cleaning crews with UAB’s processes and protocols — ensuring UAB puts its best foot forward while on the world stage.

Racquetball Court Build Timelapse

Ever seen a racquetball court built in under 3 minutes? A special court was installed for World Games matches inside UAB's Campus Recreation Center. IRL, it took about a week — but it goes much faster in this timelapse video.

Twg Costume Shop

UAB employees, students and alums helped create, organize and perform in the Games' opening and closing ceremonies at Protective Stadium — doing everything from providing creative direction, writing arrangements and short films to assisting with audio engineering and costume design and performing in the ceremonies themselves.

Yelvington Nephew

Kirsten Yelvington, operations administrator in the Department of Neurosurgery, had a special connection to the World Games: Her nephew, Bert Harrison, competed in duathlon events as part of the American team.

Squash Demo

Faculty aficionados of the World Games’ two racquet sports, squash and racquetball, explained the rules of their games and their gatherings at the Campus Recreation Center in advance of the global competition.

Sustainability Twg

Throughout the World Games, members of the UAB Sustainability team volunteered and staffed recycling stations at the events held in the Campus Recreation Center. During the eight days of squash and racquetball matches, UAB Recycling and Sustainability collected 160 pounds of aluminum, 310 pounds of plastic and 311 pounds of compost.

VR Libraries Plaza Activity   Widget   Year End Edition

Units from across the UAB enterprise hosted tailored, hands-on activities for visitors at the World Games Plaza, hosted in Birmingham’s new City Walk. The activities highlighted the best of what UAB has to offer — whether in the classroom, the lab, the clinic or the conference room.