October 10, 2010 was the night of the opening ceremonies for the Guarne, Colombia FIRS Roller Speed Skating World Championships. Unlike last year, this year really seemed like worlds with nearly 10,000 fans cheering on the world and waiting for a show.
The show began with young skaters skating around the track while the announcer gave the audience a history of skating in Colombia. Then with a live television show that was broadcast all throughout Colombia was the “Parade of Nations.” I believe the entire championships will be broadcast live throughout the country and then replayed later on much like the last Colombian world .
Many of you know that Michael Cheek celebrated his birthday earlier this week and was voted by the team to carry the United States flag to lead in his team. There was a huge cheer and tons of clapping as the team walked around the arena and threw trinkets out to the crowd. One thing is for certain, the Colombians love Americans.
Just after the parade, the Colombian National Anthem was played and soon after, while they were introducing the VIPs and giving thanks and recognition to all the people who helped bring the championships all together, it began raining. Those of us who were in Cali, Colombia for worlds in 2007 remember this happening there as well. Team USA left for the hotel so we do not know if the ceremonies continued. All indications are that they did not because other teams began showing up at the hotel shortly after us.
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Drew Valensky. This is his first time at worlds. I asked him if he was nervous and he said that he was more anxious to race. He was excited about the parade and the amount of people there. He stated that he is more nervous for the heats than the finals. He is not the only one who is nervous.
We will start tomorrow with the 300 meter for both junior and senior, the elimination race for the junior division and the points race for the senior division. Now on to what you have all been waiting for. Your first starting up, and remember this is subject to change, is:
Jr Ladies: Hailey Leech and Kimi Goetz
Jr Men: Jonathan Blair and Eben Jackson
Sr Men: Joey Mantia and Will Bowen
Sr Ladies: Sara Sayasane and Erin Jackson
Ladies: Darian O'Neil and Alyssa Franklin
Men: Mario Valencia and Drew Valinsky
Senior Points Elim Race
Ladies: Briana Kramer and Sophie Webb
Men: Joey Mantia and Harry Vogel