You’ve probably heard about the 2016 Olympics that took place in Rio de Janeiro this year. But did you know that the Ontario Summer Games; located in our very own Mississauga this year are happening at the same time? The Ontario Summer Games is an athletic event for youth ages 12-18 all across Ontario. The games take place once every two years. This year, there are 3500 athletes taking place in more than 34 different events; located in different sites across Mississauga and the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). The 2016 Games are the largest in history.
The Opening Ceremony of the Ontario Summer Games took place on August 11, 2016. It took place in the sports hub of Mississauga: the Hershey Sportzone. At 7 pm the room darkened and Mark “Strizzy” Strong, Official Announcer of the Raptors, took the main stage. Soon after, the athletes paraded in, categorized by sport. There were a lot of sports such as Archery, Badminton, Basketball, Diving, Road Cycling, Soccer, Table Tennis, and Volleyball. Pachi the Porcupine-the mascot of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am games-danced at the entrance where all the athletes came in.
The officials attending the event also gave speeches. I listened to the speeches of Bonnie Crombie, the Mayor of Mississauga; The Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, and members of the Council. They handed over the flags of the host city to its next owner — London, Ontario. Kaitlynn Sampel, a bilingual athlete, came as a representative of all the athletes to recite an oath:
“In the name of all competitors, I promise we shall take part in the Ontario Summer Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the spirit of true sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honor of our teams.”
There were many spectacular shows as well: Rhythm Works with John River, who encouraged the each side of the arena to clap to a different rhythm, making a strong beat; Virtual Youth Choir, a group of children singing and dancing in a circle onstage; and Tyler Shaw, who sang his latest single, Wicked.
The audience was encouraged to download an app that makes their phones flash synchronously.
It was a fun experience and I felt lucky to have this sensational event in town. Bring it home, Mississauga!