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To promote awareness and benefits of physical fitness and healthy lifestyles through sports education, training & competition. VAS directs more than 10 events throughout the year, including the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia, the largest multi-sport festival held in Virginia each year.
Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia
Going into its 26th year, the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia, is known throughout Virginia as Virginia's Olympics. This annual event is held the third week of July (for most sports.) This multi-sport festival is supported by a grassroots volunteer network, businesses and governments of the Roanoke Valley. The Games have an estimated $4 million economic impact on the Valley. Attracting more than 210,000 athletes, their families plus spectators during the past 20 years, this competition features over 60 individual & team sports including basketball, softball, chess, karate, swimming, autocross and more. The Games are open to all ages and skill levels for any resident in Virginia.
How they got started
In 1989, the Governor's Commission on Sports & Physical Fitness passed an endorsement that VAS would serve as the state organization to hold the State Games of Virginia. In 1992, the Games were officially called the Commonwealth Games of Virginia and in 2006 were renamed the Coventry Commonwealth Games of Virginia, a reflection of a new title sponsor of the Games. In 1990, the initial Games drew 4,400 athletes competing in 29 sports. In 2014, over 58 sports were offered with approximately 9,900 athletes. In October, 2011, the Games were renamed once again to the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia thanks to the title sponsorship of Subway.
VAS is a member of the National Congress of State Games (NCSG) and is sanctioned and recognized by the NCSG, the Virginia High School League (VHSL), the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and by the United States Olympic Committee as a Games participant.
In 1990, when the Games started, VAS had secured a $175,000 grant from the state to launch the Games. By 2001, VAS lost all state funding. Despite the loss of state funding, VAS preserved and expanded its staff and programs. In 2006, Southern Health/Coventry Health Care signed on as the title sponsor of the Games and other sponsorships began to increase. With zero funding from the state, local governments increased their financial support in addition to providing fields and facilities. VAS keeps the cost to participate in the Games minimal, with the majority of funding coming from sponsors. In 2011, Southern Health Coventry Health Care had to step down as our title sponsor due to new health care laws and regulations. Subway of Virginia was proud to announce their partnership as the title sponsor of the Games, now officially known as the Subway Commonwealth Games of Virginia.
With its dedication to a tradition of excellence & with a staff of four, VAS relies heavily on outside support. That support includes 1,000 volunteers, 60+ volunteer sport coordinators, a volunteer local organizing committee made up of 22 individuals with representatives from the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, as well as the Counties of Botetourt, Franklin, Montgomery and Roanoke Parks and Recreation Departments, other business professionals, volunteers from the medical profession field, security and police departments, and the VAS board of directors.
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