The first Island Games were held in the Isle of Man in 1985 as part of the Manx people's Year of Sport.
Approximately 700 competitors from 15 islands took part in seven different sports. Athletes came from as far afield as Iceland and Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, St Helena, and from around the British Isles.
The idea was to provide an opportunity for hundreds of young sportsmen and women from small island communities, to compete and enjoy international competition against other islanders with similar standards of performance. Other benefits of such a unique festival of sport were the opportunities for cultural exchange and social interaction with visiting teams, and the chance to establish new friendships with fellow islanders.
In many ways, sporting competition is only one aspect of the success of this event. Just as important are the opportunities it affords to share thoughts and experiences relating to our unique island stories. With that in mind, the theme for the promotion of the Games has been “bringing islands together”.
The 1985 festival was such a success that it was agreed to continue it every other year and, in 1987, Guernsey hosted the second Island Games. They have subsequently been held in the Faroe Islands, Aland, Isle of Wight, Gibraltar, Jersey, Gotland, Isle of Man, Guernsey, the Shetland Islands, Rhodes, Aland, Isle of Wight and Bermuda.
The number of participating islands has grown substantially and there are now 25 islands who are members of the International Island Games Association.
International Island Games Association website