Well, the National Special Olympics Games are now over. It was a great week! Many happy, smiling faces!
The opening ceremonies on Tuesday night went great and had some surprises for everyone!
I was one of the volunteers that was assigned to walk the British Columbia Team, following AB, into the ceremony. AB lead first, leading teams from all the provinces. Ontario came last and was escorted by the pipe band, it was an exciting time!
Our team of volunteers also helped seat a few of the other provinces as well. Nova Scotia had blue noses! Quebec has the fleur de lis on their cheeks! NWT looked sharp with their fedora type hats! AB I believe, had ‘horse tails’ hanging from their hats. Stringy ‘pom poms’ to mimic horse tails. There were many other teams that had their own unique way of showing their proud provincial enthusiasm!! Chants and shouts of pride and encouragement echoed throughout the evening!
The Games flag arrived by helicopter, then transferred to a tactical vehicle and raced into the stadium, where Don Cherry got out, accompanied by 3 London Knights hockey players. He was escorted to the front where he handed over the flag to be raised for the games. It was something to see AND hear, as all the athletes were so excited to see him and started chanting…’cher-ry! cher-ry! cher-ry!’ 🙂
The last leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run came running in, followed by the Olympic Torch escorted by motorcycle officers. 100’s of law enforcement people took turns carrying the Torch across Canada to bring it here to London for the games.
One special Olympian, and I’m sorry her name escapes me at the moment, lit the Game cauldron to signal the official start of the games!
At the end of the ceremonies, the athletes were escorted out through a walkway of the Law Enforcement torch bearers. High fives, welcomes, best wishes and good luck were abundant as they marched through!
At the Aquatic Centre, where the bulk of my shifts were, was a great team who worked well together! Many of the coaches, mission staff and organizers were very pleased and impressed with how well we did. Some said they had never seen it run so well and so smoothly. It really helped the coaches alot, not having to worry about too much because we were always there with a smile, a helping hand, and had things running so wonderfully! It was great to hear so many compliments. We were just happy to be there and see the joy, smiles, high fives and how proud the athletes were! Some of them broke personal best records!! 🙂
The closing ceremonies went well, even with a venue change a few hours before it was to begin. Rain and threatening weather had made it necessary to move everything from TD Waterhouse Stadium to the Thompson Arena. The volunteers and organizers were brilliant in getting everything moved and set up in time.
There was a brief moment of concern at one point, as to how we were going to fit all 1400 athletes, coaches and mission staff into the bleachers. Family, supporters and friends were seated on the ‘ice’. With the move happening so quickly and in such a short time, the attendance was phenomenal!! More chairs were continually needing to be set up down below for the families etc…and many were still standing!!
With some maneuvering and moving about of teams, we finally had pretty much everyone seated! 🙂
The Western University Cheerleaders did some amazing ‘stunts’ and had the crowd clapping, cheering and excited! During their warm up, they went into the bleachers as the athletes were being seated and got them rallying and chanting for their province!
The night was a huge success!! The whole week was a grand success!!
Definitely a week of meeting some great people from all across Canada, seeing the joy and pride on the athletes faces, as well as the coaches and mission staff….and our faces too!! 🙂
A week of wonderful memories!! I look forward to more!!