Jonathon Liedtke – OurWindsor.Ca – Monday, August 19, 2013
Excitement buzzed in the air at the opening ceremonies of the 2013 International Children’s Games at the WFCU Centre when the participants entered the arena in the parade of nations.
Even with pyrotechnic displays taking place at the beginning of the ceremonies, it was hard to hear anything over the thunderous roars of the crowd as teams marched into the arena.
Roughly 80 nations took part in the 2013 ICG and even though the youth would be competing against each other, the evening was filled with friendship and excitement.
“It’s very exciting to see the entire community embrace the International Children’s Games, eighty plus cities from all around the world that are here, and [we’re] coming together as a community to celebrate the spirit of the [ICG and] to celebrate the competition,” said Mayor Francis.
As is tradition with these type of events, Team Windsor entered the arena last to a rousing applause from their friends, families and fellow athletes.
Perhaps recognizing how integrated Windsor and Detroit are as a region, the audience resoundingly gave the participants from Detroit the second largest applause.
As the award winning Windsor police pipe band performed for the raising of Canadian Flag, the audience and the participants from around the globe stood in silence as the illuminated Canadian Flag, donned with our iconic maple leaf, was raised high into the air, above all athletes and spectators alike.
“In 1968, one man had a vision. He wanted to bring together the world in the spirit of peace [and harmony and sport], and he wanted to bring the youth of the world to make that happen,” said Francis. “… There were less than one-hundred participants with five cities, but the man had a dream and he had a vision … Mr. Metod Klemenc,” professed Francis expressing gratitude to Kemenc, the founder of the ICG.
The President of ICG, Torsten Rasch, expressed that the opening ceremonies were a “wonderful start” for the 45th ICG’s.
“We are very grateful to have such wonderful hosts like these people from Windsor Canada, and we are proud to have you in our family [at] ICG,” he said. “For the ICG committee, it’s a dream to have the ICG in Canada, for the third time … in Windsor.”
Featuring an orchestra, dancers, singers, aerial acrobatics and Windsor’s favourite RCMP ‘officers’ over six foot – The Stilt Guys – the opening ceremonies offered something for everyone.
The ICG is about sport and camaraderie. Athletes from all around the globe take part in competition against each other while representing their respective home countries.
Many Windsorites have speculated that hosting the ICG will help to place Windsor on the world stage, and Mayor Francis seemingly agrees.
“More importantly, I think it’s a proud moment for the residents of the City of Windsor and for our community as whole, because today we’re staking our ground on the world stage and saying [that] we’re proud to have [the athletes] here,” said Francis.
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.