July 11th, Toronto, Canada – Trinidad and Tobago brought the warmth of our islands and joy to the opening ceremony of the 17th Pan American Games. While following the team’s entrance on TV, Soca artiste Fay-Ann Lyons tweeted, “Leave it to Trinidad and Tobago to make the best entrance…See men jumping like is fete!!! #GoTnT.”
Lyons couldn’t have known that the feting had started since the team began lining up in the tunnel. Chanting “Sweet, Sweet T&T, Oh how I love up meh country,” and the chorus for the Soca Warriors chant, Trinidad and Tobago was locked in a sound clash with Uruguay to see which nation would be louder. When a video of the team jumping, waving and chanting emerged on social media, Julie Wright, a Canadian remarked “I SERIOUSLY want to hang out with these guys! #PanAM2015.”
The festive atmosphere and the excitement did not however diminish the importance of the occasion for members of the team. Marlon Moses, a member of the shooting team said, “It’s a huge honour to represent your country at this level. Some may not take it to heart, but I take this really seriously.” Swimmer Christian Marsden who at 16 is one of the youngest members of the team echoed his sentiments.
Following the parade of national teams, Cirque du Soleil enchanted everyone in attendance with gravity defying acrobatics, dances to pulsating rhythms reflecting the Pan American region, flying somersaults, BMX riders and fire.
CEO of the Organizing Committee, Saäd Rafi, then urged the athletes to embody the values of the Pan Am Games before the games were officially declared open saying, “To be an athlete is to believe in the power of possibility…to try is worthy, to be hopeful is right and to be idealistic is wise.”
Trinidad and Tobago begins its medal hunt at the games on Saturday with men’s Badminton and Women’s football.