Games off to glitzy start

Stan­ley Cup cham­pion, Olympic gold medal­list light flame

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

There may not have been a parachut­ing Queen of Eng­land, but the open­ing cer­e­monies for the 2012 NL Sum­mer Games did have a Stan­ley Cup cham­pion, an Olympic gold medal­list and much, much more.

Har­bour Grace na­tives Danny Cleary and Jamie Korab en­tered the Car­bon­ear Re­cre­ation Com­plex, torches in hand, to the ap­plause of hun­dreds of cheer­ing ath­letes and other on­look­ers. As the two cel­e­brated lo­cal ath­letes rounded the fi­nal cor­ner and hit the home stretch, throngs of ath­letes lined the track for the chance to catch an up-close glimpse two of New­found­land’s finest.

The grey sky and threat of rain did not hold back the thun­der­ous ap­plause as Cleary and Korab proudly as­cended two sets of stairs on ei­ther side of the tower, gave one fi­nal wave to the crowd, and lit the torch, of­fi­cially kick­ing off the week­long sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza in Car­bon­ear and Har­bour Grace.

Even be­fore the two sport­ing icons took the torches from Don Butt, a well­known fit­ness guru from Car­bon­ear, and So­nia Wil­liams of Har­bour Grace, who 30 years ago turned in a dom­i­nat­ing per­for­mance at the ‘82 Win­ter Games in Labrador, the at­mos­phere was al­ready highly charged.

The spir­ited parade of ath­letes, en­ter­tain­ing mus­cial per­for­mances, well­chore­ographed danc­ing and in­spir­ing words of en­cour­age­ment and praise from the prov­ince’s po­lit­i­cal elite had al­ready stoked feel­ings of pride, en­thu­si­asm and an­tic­i­pa­tion.

En­er­gized at­mos­phere

New­found­land and Labrador Premier Kathy Dun­derdale brought greet­ings on be­half of the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“For more than 37 years, the New­found­land and Labrador Games pro­gram has been en­cour­ag­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in sport and the pur­suit of ex­cel­lence,” she said. “These Games rep­re­sent the spirit of com­pe­ti­tion, the joy of achieve­ment and the chal­lenge of ex­cel­lence.”

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