Palau’s Red Carpet Entrance

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bill Kelderman, the Chef de Mission for Palau, was then directed onto stage by several jesters whilst the others bowed, showing respect and the reflecting the equality of the nations. Once on stage the Palau national anthem started while the flag was raised, during which everyone watched silently showing the importance of this event. This silence created a stark contrast to the loud and energetic songs. Their flag blew in the breeze alongside the main Olympic rings flag, signifying their participation in London 2012. Bill then signed his name on a symbolic glass column, alongside all other Chef de Mission’s names; an everlasting memento of all the nations’ participating in the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Once the nation had been welcomed, the ‘Queen’, a member of the National Youth Theatre Company, provided a final few welcoming words. This was followed by a poem which had a sporting theme, inspiring the athletes and giving a Shakespearian theme to the whole event.

“We crawl before we walk

We walk before we run

We run before we sprint

We sprint before we race

Courage must be bigger than expectation

Stand tall for your ambition

Shoot eyes to starts sight

The universe has energy to be harnessed all

Fill your lungs with air shared

And unite to become the best”

 During the poem the jesters whispered key words of the poem, emphasising their message and beckoning the athletes toward a red carpet. This provided a pathway into the village and a grand welcoming gesture. They stopped just before the entrance to the village, where they started to energetically sing ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen, inspiring the athletes in their sports and wishing them the best of luck. Jennifer Anson spoke warmly of the Welcome Ceremony, “It was really amazing with all the people dressed up and all the dancing and singing.”

Palauan athletes clapped along to the song, smiles beamed from their faces as they enthusiastically watched. Keesha Keane talked about how this welcome has made her excited and now is looking forward to representing her country in her event, 50m freestyle swimming, even more than she previously was. Following this the athletes were then ushered into the Victory Park, where they took photos of the team in front of the Olympic rings creating a spectacular background and a unique photo.

The Palauan Team have settled in well to their village and are taking full advantage of the facilities in their last few days of training before the games begin, which will be marked by the Opening Ceremony. Rodman Teltull, 100m sprinter for Palau, said that the village has “great facilities,” which allow them to concentrate on different areas of training efficiently and effectively in the last few days before the games begin. The facilities include a fitness centre which includes areas for weight training and for core fitness, with weight machines, bikes and treadmills. Other facilities include a large eating area with many different foods that originate from a variety of countries, giving the athletes a wide choice of foods. In this canteen there is an area which allows athletes to check the nutritional information of all the foods that are available. This allows athletes to concentrate on their training as they do not have to worry about the foods as all the information they need is easily accessible. In the Athletes Village there is also a games area in which the athletes can relax and socialise with other athletes providing them with down time away from training.

By the end of today, all team welcomes will be complete; similarly, later today will be the turn of the Oceania’s Flag raising ceremony which will allow Palau to be welcomed to the games with their neighbouring islands. This welcome will be the last official ceremony before the Opening ceremony in which all the athletes from around the world will be united and introduced to the public.