DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) — The 2017 State Games of America in Grand Rapids, Michigan is this week, taking place August 3-6, 2017. The national event is expected to attract 12,000 competitors from across North America. Over 100 youth and adult athletes from across Alabama are registered to compete from qualifying at the 2016 and/or 2017 Alabama State Games event. The State Games of America is an Olympic-style multi-sport event featuring competition between State Games medal winners (gold, silver, bronze) from across the nation. There are currently over 30 states conducting or organizing statewide sports festivals known as State Games. Most recently, the largest State Games of America was held in Lincoln, NE with over 15,000 total participants.
Michael Dreilinger, the 2016 Alabama State Games adult male Athlete of the Year (presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors) has been selected to be the official flag bearer for Alabama. Dreilinger will lead all youth and adult athletes from Alabama who have qualified and registered to compete in their respective sports in the Parade of Athletes at the Opening Ceremonies held on Friday, August 4, 2017 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. When asked what it means to be selected for this honor and what he is most looking forward to, Dreilinger had this to say; “When I first got the email notifying me I'd been selected, I was nothing short of flabbergasted. It didn't really hit me until I told my Dad and he just lit up. It inspired me to train even harder to represent Alabama in my competition. I'm looking forward to watching my students give it everything they have. We've been training super hard the last several months, and I can't wait to see where it leads.“ Participants, relatives, friends, etc. that are unable to attend Opening Ceremony will be able to watch the event online. Click here for details about the Opening Ceremony festivities.
Dreilinger, Enterprise, AL - age 20, has competed in Taekwondo (TKD) in each of the last two years at the Alabama State Games, earning multiple medals: 4 gold, 1 silver, and 1 bronze. He also participated in the 2015 State Games of America in Omaha, NE and earned a gold medal in the men's under 20 black belt division. He has taught TKD at the Enterprise YMCA as a volunteer for five years before becoming the Chief Instructor this past year. Michael has competed in over 60 martial arts tournaments over the last 6 years. He has judged in over half of those tournaments, developing a reputation of fairness and compassion for competitors. He firmly believes and teaches that TKD can make a major, positive influence in the lives of his students. He is currently a student at Troy University.