Aug. 15, 2009
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. (CNB) – The impressive opening ceremonies focusing on youth Saturday at Credit Union Place in Summerside in front of a sell-out crowd of 3,000 and more than 1,500 participants launched the 2009 Canada Games in Prince Edward Island.
Beresford wrestler Jean-François Godin, with the provincial flag, and Nasonworth soccer player Dayle Colpitts, with the NB sign, led the team into the Credit Union Centre.
Each participant wore the official Team NB uniform and waved an NB flag marching amid the shouts and words of encouragement of the numerous spectators and parents. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaëlle Jean presided over the ceremonies with numerous politicians from the Island, all provinces and territories, including Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault.
"I participated in the ceremonies with a lot of emotions," said Godin. "I cannot describe in words all the feelings I felt when I entered the rink with the flag. It was more intense than I had imagined. A lot of things went through my mind as I was walking with the flag. You tell yourself that all those practices, all those competitions and all the things you go through were well worth it."
Godin said he jumped with joy when he learned he was going to be the flag bearer.
"It is an honour I cannot describe. I had never imagined that one day I would be a flag bearer. I will now focus my attention to the competitions that begin Wednesday for us. I will make sure I represent my province well."
Godin is registered in science at University of New Brunswick in September. He will attend the Pan-Am Games in Mexico in October.
Colpitts was proud to hold the NB sign.
"The ceremonies were bigger than I had imagined," Colpitts said. "I was a bit nervous being in front of the delegation. I am happy to have done this for our team."
Chef de mission Jennifer Bent-Richard was pleased that the ceremonies emphasized youth, culture and the athletes.
"The ceremonies are now over, we shift our focus to the competitions for the next two weeks," she said.
Arseneault is on the Island until Monday to support the various Team NB athletes and teams.
The opening ceremonies were organized by Moncton's Jac Gautreau and focused on the youth and athletes of Prince Edward Island. Musicians, dancers, artists and the natives transformed the Credit Union Centre into a gigantic national party with fiddles and various other musical instruments.
The fête nationale of Acadians was also mentioned and celebrated. The Canada Games Flag was carried in by former Olympians, including Marianne Limpert of Fredericton. The lighting of the torch was also a very important moment, giving the mark to start the competitions with the official opening of the games being proclaimed by the governor general.