Athletes at the Huntsman Senior World Games light flame in spectacular opening ceremony – St George News

ST. GEORGE — “The trip is over, and we’re again.”

The procession of athletes on the Huntsman World Senior Video games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2021 | Picture by E. George Goold, St. George Information

With that announcement, Kyle Case, CEO of the Huntsman World Senior Video games, kicked off this 12 months’s version of the video games throughout a grand opening ceremony Tuesday evening at Larger Zion Stadium.

The occasion featured a parade of athletes, musical numbers by Broadway star DeLaney Westfall and the Diamond Expertise Dancers, and phrases of welcome from Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and representatives of the Huntsman household. Residents, enterprise leaders and individuals from round Larger Zion welcomed the return of the video games after a 12 months’s absence on account of COVID-19 restrictions.

Anne Abernathy, a six-time Olympic luge athlete from the U.S. Virgin Islands, was the visitor speaker on the opening ceremony and likewise participated within the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic flame.

Abernathy spoke with St. George Information afterwards and in contrast the opening ceremony on the Huntsman World Senior Video games to the opening ceremonies she was a part of at six totally different Winter Olympics.

“This one was extra heartfelt than any I’ve been to,” Abernathy mentioned, “as a result of the persons are right here not simply to win, however are right here for the friendship and the camaraderie.”

Six-time Olympian Anne Abernathy speaks on the opening ceremony of the Huntsman World Senior Video games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2021 | Picture by E. George Goold, St. George Information

Abernathy is competing within the archery occasion on the video games, making her second look in St. George.

“I’m enthusiastic about going out to the archery vary and seeing all the chums I made two years in the past,” she mentioned. “It’s simply particular.”

The pleasant perspective and respectful aggressive spirit goes past the Olympics, she added.

“It takes competitors and video games to a completely totally different degree,” Abernathy mentioned. “They honestly comply with the perfect right here. It’s not win in any respect prices, it’s attempt to be there in any respect prices, and that’s a giant distinction.”

She mentioned that world athletes prepare 24 hours a day, seven days every week for his or her complete lives to get to the Olympics.

“However the those that come right here, this isn’t their all the things – it’s simply part of their lives,” Abernathy mentioned. “And that’s what sports activities needs to be.”

Abernathy’s participation in six totally different Olympic video games is an unbelievable achievement and he or she bought launched to Utah due to it.

“One in every of my favourite video games, it’s onerous to pick one, however Salt Lake Metropolis (2002) was once I set the document because the oldest girl ever to compete in a Winter Olympics,” she mentioned. “So it’s close to and expensive to my coronary heart. I’ve met many mates right here in Utah and I’m more than happy to be right here.”

Abernathy, a most cancers survivor, mentioned considered one of her largest thrills Tuesday evening got here in the course of the procession of the torch to mild the Olympic flame.

Within the relay she handed the torch to John and Karen Huntsman’s granddaughter, Ruby Parkin Earl, who lit the flame.

“I advised her how particular it was to me, as a result of I used to be impressed by the Huntsman household not solely at these video games however by their Most cancers Institute and all the things they’ve performed to battle the illness,” Abernathy mentioned. “It made all of it that rather more particular to deliver not simply the competitors, however life.” 

Yearly on the opening ceremony a member of the Huntsman household addresses the gang and Earl advised St. George Information it was an sudden pleasure.

Ruby Parkin Earl, granddaughter of John and Karen Huntsman, speaks in the course of the opening ceremony of the Huntsman World Senior Video games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2021 | Picture by E. George Goold, St. George Information

“Being considered one of 56 grandchildren, being put as much as the duty was one thing that I by no means thought would come to me,” Earl mentioned, including that she moved to St. George whereas her husband attends medical college right here.

“They thought it will be good to have me symbolize as an area of St. George and be a part of the thrill,” Earl mentioned, “as I’ll have the ability to not solely go and spectate and cheer, however volunteer at these occasions as nicely.” 

Earl mentioned she remembers seeing her grandfather mild the flame on the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake Metropolis.

“I by no means thought I could possibly be part of one thing so nice,” she mentioned. “To suppose that I even have part of this makes me really feel on cloud 9.”

She added that the athletes on the video games are an inspiration to her.

“Simply their grit, their will and skill to not solely be right here and present up, however to have the ability to cheer one another on from wherever they’re from,” Earl mentioned. “And to help them, to foster the friendships that enable them to compete. It’s so cool to observe.”

The ceremony concluded with the lighting of the flame and a formidable fireworks show. The athletes loved the spectacle, none greater than the Olympian who maybe traveled farther than anybody else to compete within the video games.

Flag holders on the opening ceremony of the Huntsman World Senior Video games, St. George, Utah, Oct. 5, 2021 | Picture by E. George Goold, St. George Information

Alexander Romanov from Moscow, Russia, got here to St. George to take part within the swimming occasions on the video games.

“Improbable. Thrilling,” had been the phrases Romanov used to explain the ceremony. “I actually like St. George and Huntsman World Senior Video games as a result of everyone smiles – everyone is mates.”

He’s in St. George together with his spouse Alla Romanov, who’s his cheering part and help system. 

“I hope to swim and meet mates,” he mentioned. “And perhaps win a Gold Medal, too.” 

Athletic competitors within the senior video games started Monday and continues till Oct. 16.

Followers can comply with the video games and see outcomes and schedules at this website.

Copyright St. George Information, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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