The 2012 BC Summer Games officially kicked off in Surrey on Thursday with a colourful and enthusiastic Opening Ceremony celebration.
The Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Ida Chong lit the Games torch and officially declared the Games open.
Minister Chong said, “For young BC athletes, the Games serve as an important developmental milestone. Athletes, you are the up and comers of sport in this province and you are here because you’re good.”
The Opening Ceremony took place at Holland Park which is also the site for Surrey’s Fusion Festival this weekend. Surrey’s Global community was highlighted throughout the ceremony with members of different cultural groups leading the athletes’ parade.
14-year old Payton Rector from Surrey treated the audience to a performance of the BC Summer Games song “Because We Dream” which was co-composed by Doug Johnson, a Surrey resident and keyboardist of legendary Canadian recording artists Loverboy.
The BC Games are a training ground for the best young athletes in the province. A special video message from BC Games alumnus and two-time Olympian Gary Reed was played for the audience. Gary said that “My experience at the BC Summer Games was crucial and critical to performing well later at the Canada Games and then the Olympics.” 25 members of the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team are BC Games alumni including Gary’s best friend and medal hopeful Dylan Armstrong.
Over 2300 athletes will be competing in 20 sports at venues throughout Surrey over the next three days. With an average athlete age of 14 years, the BC Games are an important step for athletes towards provincial and national team programs. Over 3000 community volunteers are contributing to the planning and staging of the Games.