I had no idea that the Micronesian Games had so many participants! In all, over 1000 athletes from 10 different Nations are participating. The Nations are the CNMI, Guam, Kosrae, Marshall Islands, Palau, Pohnpei, Yap, Chuuk, Kiribati, and Nauru.
From the tent where we handed out drinks we were close enough to get a good look at all of the athletes. The first group of athletes to enter the field were the Hall of Famers, mostly CNMI athletes from the first Micronesian Games back in 1969. My cousin Michael (Villagomez, duh!) was part of that group. He's the young(ish) looking guy in the back of this photo:
Following the Hall of Famers was the 2006 Micronesian Games banner.
From the Micronesian Games Program:
Fakpi as the birds are called in the Chamorro language, suugh in Carolinian and tropicbirds in English, are found throughout the Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia. They fly with athletic attributes of speed, grace and style and represent the athletes of the Micro Games, ascending to new heights.The birds really do fly like that. A few weeks ago I posted a picture of two tropicbirds flying. Click HERE to see that picture.
Two birds flying side-by-side symbolize cooperation, coming together as one. At the
same time they represent competition with one slightly ahead of the other for first and second place. Additionally, they denote father and son, mother and daughter, brother and sister, and special friends who come together each striving to reach their full potential in a friendly competitive setting.
The multi-colored Micro Games text symbolizes the multiple cultures found within Micronesia. The white birds symbolize the peace and goodwill that exists among the Micronesian people.
The rest of the athletes came after the Micronesian Games banner. Each nation entered one at a time, some being more rowdy than others. This is a video of the Kosraen team singing as they enter the field:
I really like this picture I took of the Palauan delegation. I've always thought of Palauan guys as being big and burly. Looking at this picture, I'd have to say that big and burly pretty much sums them up:
The CNMI had the largest delegation.
That's our friend EJ in the middle of that last picture (she's the cute Korean girl with the brohan shades). We promised that we'd go watch her play volleyball tomorrow. I'm guessing that that's the rest of the CNMI volleyball team with her.
Leaders from all of the Micronesian Nations represented were in attendance. They were sitting up on the main stage. Governor Ben Fitial (center) and Lieutenant Governor Tim Villagomez (right) were sitting in the front row.
That's going to have to do it for the pictures. It was kind of overcast and I should have been using my flash. Since I didn't use a flash, most of my pictures came out blurry. Oh well, live and learn.
Without or without the pictures though, overall it was a really great kickoff for the 2006 Micronesian Games. After the procession of the athletes, the singing of the National anthems, and the speeches from important people, there were dancers and other entertainment. I didn't stick around for all that, but from what I saw it looks like the games are going to be really successful.
(Emily went home early because she wasn't feeling well, so thanks goes out to Gus and Cinta Kaipat for giving me a ride home!)