Excited young athletes were among the thousands in attendance at the official opening ceremonies of the 2012 BC Summer Games at Holland Park Thursday night.

2012 BC Summer Games launched at Holland Park

Thousands gather for official opening ceremonies for the July 19-22 sports event.

Thousands of people packed Holland Park Thursday night for the opening ceremonies of the 2012 BC Summer Games, which included Payton Rector singing the Games’ official song, “Because We Dream.” (Watch a video of the performance: http://bit.ly/Qhdbtd).

More than 2,000 young athletes and their families – along with hundreds of coaches – have arrived in Surrey to participate in the July 19-22 sporting event.

British Columbia’s future elite athletes have gathered for three days of intense competition at venues throughout Surrey.

The athletes, between the ages of nine and 19, are competing in 20 different sports. Competitions for athletes with a disability are also part of the Games, with events scheduled in athletics, para-equestrian and swimming.

The BC Summer Games include athletes competing from eight different provincial zones. Many BC Games’ alumni have gone on to excel on the world athletic stage.

Among the many BC Games alumni representing Canada at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games are cyclist Ryder Hesjedal, wrestler Carol Huynh, swimmer Brent Hayden, shotputter Dylan Armstrong, diver Riley McCormick and soccer goaltender Karina LeBlanc.

“The B.C. Summer Games provide an excellent opportunity for young athletes to test their skills and abilities through healthy competition,” said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.

“Our community has once again come together in a collaborative spirit, and I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who are helping us put on a world-class event.”

The City of Surrey has invested heavily in sport infrastructure, said Kelly Mann, president and CEO of the BC Games Society.

“These facilities will now be the ideal stage for our emerging athletes and coaches to pursue their personal bests. Many athletes competing in London 2012 made their path through the BC Summer Games, and many of the athletes competing in Surrey will certainly see an Olympics in their future.”

The BC Games were established in 1978 and consist of both Summer and Winter Games. The Games represent the largest multi-sport competition in B.C.

The government of British Columbia provides base funding for the Games of $600,000. Other partners providing funding and in-kind services include the City of Surrey, School District 36, Jazz Air, Global BC, CN, Black Press, Save-on-Foods, and Coast Capital Savings.

Opening ceremony videos:

Check out these videos from the opening ceremonies courtesy the folks at @Surrey604com:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlUKkTkriOA&feature=g-upl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOlpc3eY-J0&feature=g-upl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q_OckDxYcc&feature=g-upl

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TE2-gjZocTM&feature=g-upl

Fast Games facts:

• The BC Summer Games run from July 19 to 22.

• 2,366 athletes, 474 coaches and 323 officials will participate in the BC Summer Games.

• As many as 3,000 volunteers will contribute to the Games.

• The average age of the athletes is 14 years.

• 20 sports are included in the Games.

• 2,000 medals will be awarded in 284 medal presentation ceremonies.

• One coach with each Zone Team is required to be a fully certified NCCP Level 2 coach in his or her sport.

• Based on data from past Games, the estimated economic impact to the  host community is $2.6 million.

• Volunteers will prepare more than 32,000 meals over the course of the Games.

• Surrey School District 36 has offered the use of area schools for athlete accommodation.

• The City of Surrey previously has hosted the BC Summer Games in 1989 and the BC Seniors Games in 2001.

Learn more: BC Games Society: http://www.bcgames.org/

Surrey 2012 BC Summer Games: http://2012bcsummergames.ca/

Surrey Leader: http://www.bclocalnews.com/SpecialEvents/BCSummerGames/

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