Feeling a little blue since the Olympic Games in Rio wrapped up? Fret not!
Here’s just what the sports medicine doctor ordered, and right here in Vancouver – the first ever Americas Masters Games. And tonight, we kicked it off in style.
Jack Poole Plaza is the official celebration site – same Salish First Nations land right near the Vancouver Conventions Centre where we hosted the Winter Games just 6 years ago. The AM Games opening ceremonies started with a March of Athletes that included beaming, non-professional athletes aged 30 and older, from 52 countries cheered on by their friends, families, and Vancouver folks happy to support. Or just there to sip a pint at at the Tap & Barrel beer gardens. The parade led by a wacky brass band more Bruno Mars funk rather than John Phillip Sousa marches, the plaza filled up fast.
Tonight’s opening ceremonies on stage were mc’d by Global News Anchor Chris Gaillus, with a welcome blessing by First Nations elders and performers Bob Baker and the Eagle Song Dancers. Vancouver songstress Marie Hui belted out the Canadian national anthem, and Olympian Charmaine Crooks made an appearance. Minister Peter Fassbender said some fine words about how inspiring these older athletes are, some up to 100 years old – proving to the world that age really is a number.
The Games were officially declared open with a ceremonial lighting of the Olympic cauldron – and that never gets old. The crowd went absolutely wild. Party time was next, with the Famous Players Band rocking the stage.
Watching people dance as the sun set on an overcast evening was pretty special. I lost count of all the different flags and team jackets from various countries.
Missed the opening ceremonies? No sweat. For the next nine days, until September 4th, Jack Poole Plaza will buzz with fun and daily festivities, with free public yoga, beer gardens, DJs and live bands. Be sure and catch the closing ceremonies, especially if you missed tonight’s opening bash.
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