Gallery: 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games kicks off with flurry of color, music, dance

Dancers display flags from countries around the world draped over their arms at the opening ceremony for the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games at Trailblazer Stadium in St. George, Utah, Oct. 9, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Thousands of athletes from over 30 countries converged on Trailblazer Stadium in St. George to celebrate the opening ceremony of the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games Tuesday.

Fireworks light the sky at the opening ceremony for the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games at Trailblazer Stadium in St. George, Utah, Oct. 9, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

Featuring dancers draped in flags from every country represented at the games, including Iran and Cuba, the opening ceremony was full of dancing, music and speeches to inspire the crowd.

The Huntsman World Senior Games brings athletes over the age of 50 to St. George to compete in 30 different sports. Competitions will take place across St. George until Oct. 20.

The opening ceremony started with the grand parade of athletes as Polynesian dancers performed with fire and colored smoke. It also featured speeches from St. George Mayor Jon Pike, Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, motivational speaker Dan Clark and John Morgan – the 94-year-old founder of the first World Senior Games in 1987.

The entire audience sang “Happy Birthday” to Morgan, who turns 95 on Thursday.

“It’s great to be with all of you wonderful, young people out there,” Morgan said at the opening ceremony while addressing the seniors in the audience. “I was there one time.”

In the midst of an audience from around the world, Cox also bragged about Utah’s booming economy and high growth rate.

Athletes in the 2018 Huntsman World Senior Games wave to friends in the audience at the opening ceremony at Trailblazer Stadium in St. George, Utah, Oct. 9, 2018 | Photo by Spencer Ricks, St. George News

“The reason we’re one of the fastest growing states is because in Utah, people are living longer than ever because people like you understand the joy of a full life; you’re exercising, you’re taking care of yourself, you’re competing,” Cox said.

One of the performances included dancers dressed all in white to honor Jon Huntsman Sr., the Utah philanthropist who helped fund the World Senior Games. Huntsman died earlier this year at the age of 80.

The opening ceremony wrapped up with a torch being carried around the track at Trailblazer Stadium and ending at the cauldron, which was lit by Morgan.

Following the cauldron lighting, fireworks lit up the night sky as the athletes returned to their homes and hotel rooms to prepare for their competitions.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

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Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • mshaw October 10, 2018 at 3:28 am

    Let the gummer games begin!!!!!

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