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Crowds Gather to kick-off BC Summer Games
NANAIMO, BC - Thousands of spectators gathered in Nanaimo on Thursday night to help celebrate and welcome athletes, coaches, and officials from around the province to the 2014 BC Summer Games.
The Opening Ceremony took place at the Rotary Bowl Stadium, which also serves as the venue for the Athletics competition during the Games.
Steve Darling, co-anchor of the morning news with Global BC, was the emcee for the event, and even joined in on the fun with one of the evening’s entertainers, the Abbotsford Skipping Sensations, for an impromptu routine.
Crowds were also entertained by George Taylor and the Le-la-la dancers, the Jayden Holman Band, and the Vibrant dance troupe.
One of the highlights from the evening took place when Mikaila Tombe took the stage to sing the BC Games theme some “Get in the Game” composed by Doug Dodd and Nico Rhodes. Led by dancers from Tempo Academy and the Vibrant dance troupe, the athletes on the field joined in and participated in a huge flash mob for Mikaila’s performance.
Athletes were also treated to some inspirational words from Olympic Gold Medalists Simon Whitfield and Michelle Stilwell. Both shared experiences from their time competing in the Olympics, with Whitfield offering the following advice to athletes fighting competition jitters,” Don’t try and get rid of those butterflies, just get them to fly in formation.”
Whitfield also accompanied former Games medal winners Josh Bailey, Jenaya Pynn, Jason Clair, and Alyssa Mousseau in the climatic torch run to cap off the evening. Whitfiled joined Michelle Stilwell on stage for the ceremonial lighting of the torch, declaring the Games officially open.
Over 2,400 athletes will be competing at 19 different sports in venues across Nanaimo, Duncan, and Parksville over the next three days. The Games serve as an essential development opportunity for those athletes who strive to compete at the national and international level.
Twelve people are making up the Castlegar contingent for this year's BC Summer Games.
Golfer Jeffery Ashton is on the Island, as are box lacrosse players Bryce Allen and Colton Kavaloff.
Supervisor Scott Hutt and assistant coach Yuro Ihns lead a soccer squad helped out by locals Hardy Hutt, Heiko Ihns, Nicholas Jenner and Carson Pottle.
Sailor Tanner Pearson is representing the Kootenays in general and Castlegar in particular, as are (girls' softball) player Emma Lloyd and official Garry Poznikoff.
Over 3,000 community volunteers have stepped up to lend their efforts to the planning and execution of these Games this weekend.