Mediterranean Games

The Mediterranean Games is a multi-sport games held usually every four years, between nations around or very close to the Mediterranean Sea, where Europe, Africa, and Asia meet. The games are under the auspices of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games (CIJM).

Mediterranean Games
Flag of the games
Alexandria Mediterranean Games 1951
First event1951, in Alexandria, Egypt
Occur everyFour years
Last event2018, Tarragona,  Spain
PurposeSports for the Mediterranean
PresidentAmar Addadi (Algeria)
WebsiteInternational Mediterranean Games Committee


The idea was proposed at the 1948 Summer Olympics by Muhammed Taher Pasha, chairman of the Egyptian Olympic Committee and vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.), assisted by the Greek member of the I.O.C. Ioannis Ketseas.[1] Separate Mediterranean sports events preceded the games. From 1947 to 1949, the Mediterranean Athletics Championships were contested,[2][3] and the Mediterranean Cup football competition was held in 1949 and 1950.[4] The first official Mediterranean Games were held in Egypt in 1951.

The Games were inaugurated in October 1951, in Alexandria, Egypt, in honour of Muhammed Taher Pasha, with contests being held in 13 sports along with the participation of 734 athletes from 10 countries. In 1955, in Barcelona, during the II Games, the set up was decided of a Supervisory and Controlling Body for the Games, a kind of Executive Committee. The decisions were finally materialized on 16 June 1961, and the said Body was named, upon a Greek notion, ICMG (International Committee for the Mediterranean Games). Twelve countries were hosted for Mediterranean Games - four from Africa: Egypt (1951), Tunisia (1967, 2001), Algeria (1975) and Morocco (1983); six from Europe: Spain (1955, 2005, 2018), Italy (1963, 1997, 2009), Turkey (1971, 2013), Yugoslavia (1979), Greece (1991) and France (1993) and two from Asia: Lebanon (1959) and Syria (1987).

The first 11 games took place always one year preceding the Summer Olympic Games. However, from 1993 on, they were held the year following the Olympic games. This transition meant that the only time the Mediterranean Games were not held four years after the previous Games was in 1993, when Languedoc-Roussillon in France hosted the Games just two years after Athens.


The Mediterranean Games, in terms of the preparation and composition of the National Delegation, are held under the auspices of the International Olympic Committee and the Hellenic Olympic Committee (HOC). However, their establishment too must be credited to the HOC, for it held a leading part in their being founded despite all difficulties.

Athens is the permanent seat of the ICMG (regardless of who the President might be) and the Committee’s General Secretary is Greek. This comes as a further tribute to Greece, highlighting its leading role with regard to the function and strengthening of the institution. Except that Greece bailed out of its 2013 Mediterranean Games commitment when the two cities of Volos and Larissa were supposed to host the 2013 edition of the Games. But because of Greece's financial troubles, they had to give that up and the 2013 honors went instead to Turkey, with the city of Mersin rescuing the 2013 edition of the Games instead.

The logo of the games, also referred to as the "Mediterranean Olympics", is composed of three white rings symbolically representing Africa, Asia, and Europe the three continents that border the Mediterranean Sea. This logo has been used since the Split games in 1979, for which it was devised and afterwards accepted for the whole Games. During the closing ceremony, the flag of the games is transferred to the country of the city chosen for the organization of the next Mediterranean Games.

Participating countries

At present, 26 countries participate in the games:[5]

Kosovo was accepted as a member of the International Committee of Mediterranean Games in October 2015 and participated for the first time in the 2018 Mediterranean Games in Tarragona, Spain.[6]

Of all the National Olympic Committees within the Olympic Movement bordering the Mediterranean Sea, Israel and Palestine have not participated in the games, nor has Great Britain who represents the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.

In the case of Israel, Allen Guttman in The Games Must Go On argued that Israel's exclusion is both antisemitic and politically motivated due to antagonism towards Israel by the participating Arab nations. The IOC's Avery Brundage was not supportive of Israel's desire to compete, saying: "I cannot understand why anyone wants to go where he is not wanted". The International Amateur Athletics Federation pushed the issue at the 1959 Mediterranean Games in Beirut by refusing to grant permission to hold an athletics competition unless Israel were allowed to compete. Lebanese games organizer Gabriel Gemayel conceded to this, but sidestepped the ruling by holding a parallel Lebanese Games comprising athletics events between the present nations alongside the official Mediterranean Games competitions.[7]

There are countries not bordering the Mediterranean Sea which nonetheless participate: Portugal, Andorra, Kosovo, San Marino, Serbia and North Macedonia.

The Hellenic Olympic Committee has suggested that nine more countries that do not satisfy geographic criteria could be allowed to participate, such as Bulgaria, and some Arab countries such as Jordan and Iraq. Portugal competed in the 2018 Mediterranean Games after a decision which approved Portugal as effective National Olympic Committee.[8][9]


The symbol of the Mediterranean Games consists of three rings representing Asia, Africa and Europe, the three continents involved in this competition.[10] The rings dissolve in a wavy line in their lower part, as if they were immersed in the Mediterranean Sea. During the closing ceremony, the flag is transferred to the country of the city chosen to host the next Mediterranean Games.[10]

Mediterranean Games

No inland city has ever hosted the games. All but one of the host cities to date have been situated on the Mediterranean coast (Casablanca is located on the Atlantic coast).

No Year Host Country Host City Opened by Nations Competitors Sports Events Top Country On
Medal Table
Men Women Total
1 1951  Egypt Alexandria Farouk I 10 734 --- 734 14 91  Italy
2 1955  Spain Barcelona Francisco Franco 10 1135 --- 1135 20 102  France
3 1959  Lebanon Beirut Fuad Chehab 11 792 --- 792 17 106  France
4 1963  Italy Naples Antonio Segni 13 1057 --- 1057 17 93  Italy
5 1967  Tunisia Tunis Habib Bourguiba 12 1211 38 1249 14 93  Italy
6 1971  Turkey İzmir Cevdet Sunay 14 1235 127 1362 18 137  Italy
7 1975  Algeria Algiers Houari Boumédiène 15 2095 349 2444 19 160  Italy
8 1979  Yugoslavia Split Josip Broz Tito 14 2009 399 2408 26 192  Yugoslavia
9 1983  Morocco Casablanca Hassan II 16 1845 335 2180 20 162  Italy
10 1987  Syria Latakia Hafez al-Assad 18 1529 467 1996 19 162  Italy
11 1991  Greece Athens Konstantinos Karamanlis 18 2176 586 2762 24 217  Italy
12 1993  France Languedoc-Roussillon François Mitterrand 20 1994 604 2598 24 217  France
13 1997  Italy Bari Oscar Luigi Scalfaro 21 2195 804 2999 27 234  Italy
14 2001  Tunisia Tunis Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 23[11] 2002 1039 3041 23 230  France
15 2005  Spain Almería Juan Carlos I 21 2134 1080 3214 27 258  Italy
16 2009  Italy Pescara Renato Schifani 23 2183 1185 3368 28 244  Italy
17 2013  Turkey Mersin Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 24 1994 1070 3064 27 264  Italy
18 2018  Spain Tarragona Felipe VI 26 2656 1885 4541 28 246  Italy
19 2021  Algeria Oran President of Algeria (expected) 26 Future Event
20 2025  Italy Taranto TBD Future Event

Mediterranean Beach Games

The International Mediterranean Games Committee held a meeting on October 20, 2012 in Mersin, Turkey, and decided to organize the Mediterranean Beach Games every 4 years starting from 2015. The Games consist only water sports and beach sports, which aim at bringing together young athletes of the Mediterranean area, giving them the opportunity to participate in sport events.[12]

Pescara, Italy was awarded the rights to host the first edition of the Mediterranean Beach Games from 28 August to 6 September.[13] The sports included in the program of the 1st Mediterranean Beach Games are the following: Aquathlon, Beach Handball, Beach Soccer, Beach Tennis, Beach Volley, Beach Wrestling, Finswimming, Canoe Ocean Racing, Open Water Swimming, Rowing Beach Sprint, Water Ski.

No Year Host Country Host City Nations Athletes Sports Top Country On Medal Table
1 2015  Italy Pescara 24 900 11  Italy
2 2019  Greece Patras 26 700 11  Greece
3 2023

Medal table

All-time medal table 1951–2018 Mediterranean Games

Rank Team Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Italy8767406872303[14]
2 France6315765331740[14]
3 Turkey341243278862[14]
4 Spain3294495441322[14]
5 Yugoslavia*199177182558[14]
6 Greece192247339778[14]
7 Egypt142194231567[14]
8 Tunisia8393146322[14]
9 Morocco697799245[14]
10 Algeria6659115240[14]
11 Croatia516269182[14]
12 Slovenia495690195[14]
13 Serbia*495375177[14]
14 Syria283976143[14]
15 United Arab Republic23213074[14]
16 Cyprus14191851[14]
17 Lebanon10234275[14]
18 Albania9181744[14]
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina481931[14]
20 San Marino39517[14]
21 Portugal381324[14]
22 Montenegro35816[14]
23 Kosovo3104[14]
24 Macedonia (North Macedonia)22711[14]
25 Libya211316[14]
26 Malta1348[14]
27 Monaco0314[14]

All-time medal table 2015–2019 Mediterranean Beach Games

1 Italy483625109
2 France26122159
3 Greece24232067
4 Spain69823
5 Algeria24410
6 Turkey2259
7 Tunisia18918
8 Egypt16411
9 Portugal1506
10 Syria1124
11 Serbia1102
12 Albania1012
13 Croatia0347
14 Cyprus0213
15 Slovenia0134
16 San Marino0033
17 Monaco0022
18 Libya0011
Totals (18 nations)114113113340


Throughout the history of the Mediterranean Games, 33 different sports have been presented.

Sport Years
Archery Since 1971
Athletics Since 1951
Badminton Since 2013
Basketball Since 1951
Beach volleyball Since 2005
Bocce Since 1997
Boxing Since 1951
Canoeing Since 1979
Cycling Since 1955
Diving Since 1951
Equestrian Since 1955
Sport Years
Fencing Since 1951
Field hockey Since 1955
Football Since 1951
Golf Since 1983
Gymnastics Since 1951
Handball Since 1967
Judo Since 1971
Karate Since 1993
Roller hockey Since 1955
Rowing Since 1951
Rugby union Since 1955
Sport Years
Sailing Since 1955
Shooting Since 1951
Swimming Since 1951
Table tennis Since 1971
Taekwondo Since 2013
Tennis Since 1963
Volleyball Since 1959
Water polo Since 1951
Waterskiing Since 2009
Weightlifting Since 1951
Wrestling Since 1951

See also


  1. "History of the Mediterranean Games". International Committee of Mediterranean Games. CIJM. Retrieved 21 June 2015.
  2. εφ. "Αθλητική Ημέρα", Μάιος 1935.
  3. "Mediterranean Games". Retrieved 21 December 2012. The Mediterranean Games were first held in 1951, although an unofficial Games was previously held in 1949.
  4. Mediterranean Cup and Games. RSSSF. Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  5. "Participating countries". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  6. Kosovo accepted as member of International Committee of the Mediterranean Games.
  7. The games must go on: Avery Brundage and the Olympic movement, Allen Guttmann, page 225.
  8. "Participation of Portugal in the MG Tarragona 2017". Retrieved 20 August 2016.
  9. "Portugal new member of the ICMG". Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  10. "Mediterranean Games History". Mediterranean Games Site. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
  11. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-07-28. Retrieved 2013-06-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. "International Committee of the Mediterranean Games".
  13. "Pescara 2015 - Italia". Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  14. "Medals table per country and per Games".
  15. "International Committee of the Mediterranean Games".
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