Every two years, thousands of police officers and firefighters from around the world gather to compete in dozens of sports such as ice hockey, paintball, arm wrestling, track and field and even badminton. This year's competition, taking place in June in Fairfax, Virginia, may have an unlikely foe: the strong dollar.
Bill Knight, CEO of the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG), conceded that the high goal of 12,000 athletes that was projected three years ago seems to be less within reach now, possibly due to the surge in the value of the U.S. dollar.
Organizers have amended their participation projections down to 10,000 athletes. Knight said his staff, who are taking reservations daily, are hearing more about this unforeseen problem.
"I have heard directly from our accommodations staff due to increased costs due to the rise in the dollar and other geopolitical things going on in the world that it is making it difficult to travel."
Currently there are more than 9,000 athletes signed up for the WPFG. Knight still sees that as winning. "We're not using the dollar as an excuse, and we're still thrilled with 10,000 unique athletes and the games will be a big success for us and the community."
The games run June 26 to July 5. The dollar is at a nine-year high.