Monday, August 11, 2014

WUOC 2014: Opening Ceremony

WUOC 2014 - Opening Ceremony in Olomouc

WUOC Officially begun tonight after the Opening Ceremony in the city center. There was no traditional team parade through town this time, and ceremony started with all the teams seated in the inner courtyard of one of the university central buildings (I believe the Library?) which was once a military complex. We did however get to have a little bit of a parade, all the teams walked across the stage, in the spotlight of an otherwise dark quad. 

Sadly there were soft, intermittent rain-showers during the ceremony, but the organizers were ready for worse providing us all with small plastic ponchos red, white and blue like the colors of the home team. We at first were confused though because we only saw red and white so everyone especially our Japanese friends and neighbors were making mock white and red poke-balls out of the containers. It wasn't until we opened them we realised they were ponchoes. Which I quite liked as added a bit of warmth and kept my legs dry :) 

To start off the ceremony there was a local kids and female choir who sang the Czech anthem, and also the anthem of the FISU, the international federation in charge of all university sports. The little ones were so cute to watch :) 

We then had many speeches made in both Czech and English from the various presidents of federations and organizing committees. And later on in the ceremony the all important student oath and officials oath were taken by a local czech athlete on the Czech team and an official from the area. This is to promise that we play by the rules, and do not cheat or dope. 

We then had two dance performances from local dance groups. One group performed a small show centered on red-dressed girls dancing around macho soldiers. The west point cadets on the team I'm sure could appreciate the uniforms, but can they dance even smoother?  Guess we will find out at the banquet! 

The best part of it all though, was a short light show on the side of the building. It used the details of the windows and facade as backgrounds to a orienteering-themed game of lights and colors. This was to celebrate and preview the home-made medals created just for WUOC. They are unique pieces made by the local Winter biathalon Olympic Medalist, Gabriela Soukalov√°. At university she studied metal work and metal design. The medals feature contours and a compass-needle, the perfect design for honoring the winner this week. The process apparently took her three or four months! 

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