Other Sports of Sunday, 7 October 2018
It was perhaps the best one hundred and thirteen minutes of modern Olympic history as Buenos Aires served its indigenes and visitors real entertainment at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
Hours before the start of the event, the city was at a standstill as everyone rushed to the most emblematic place of Buenos Aires, the Obelisk at Avenida 9 de Julio, situated right in the heart of the city. This was the first time that a host city opened an edition of the Olympic Games outside a stadium, with a whole community in attendance. There was a lot of pomp and pageantry that radiated pure emotions; Buenos Aires simply gave its audience an urban experience that celebrated sport with an inclusive, interactive and multicultural approach.
Then came the main purpose for which the Obelisk was chosen as the stage for the opening ceremony, the giant structure served as a pictogramic screen with all the thirty-two sporting disciplines at this year’s Games projected on it. Male and female stunt artists performed athletics, cycling, rowing, jumps, roller speed skating and BMX freestyle while suspended about 70m high up in the air. Following the tradition of every opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, flag bearers of each delegation carried their national flags unto center stage and planted them right at the base of the Obelisk.
And it was a proud moment for me as a Ghanaian when I saw Team Ghana’s captain and swimming sensation Abeiku Jackson mount the stage, clad in his red, gold and green smock, carrying the national flag! Following that, the Olympic rings began flying in the air. International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach and Gerardo Werthein admonished the gathering, especially the athletes while President of Argentina, Maurico Macri officially declared the Games open.
Three individuals who each represented competing athletes, coaches and event officials took the Olympic Oathdeclaring their respect for the rules and spirit of fair play, commitment to participate in the Games without doping and cheating, but rather compete for glory of sport and their team’s honour, with respect for the fundamental principles of Olympism.
Wrapping up what would be a memorable night, the sacred Olympic flame which symbolizes “the light of spirit, knowledge and life – after travelling more than 20000km through Argentina – made its journey to the cauldron right in front of the Obelisk and was lit. It illuminated the entire area, leaving a positive impression on the faces of all gathered. And it was all fireworks through the city of Buenos Aires as Avenido 9 de Julio was lit up magnificently.
Argentina used the opportunity to showcase its technological advancements as it aimed to reach a vast majority of the world’s population through all traditional, social and new media platforms available. It is an undeniable fact that each one of the over two hundred thousand spectators at the Obelisk left with a memory never to be forgotten. Indeed, Buenos Aires promised and truly delivered!