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Stars shine over 2003 State Games

By Staff
CELEBRATION Callie Smith, a member of the Laurel Thunder soccer team, celebrates with other athletes during the State Games of Mississippi 2003 opening ceremonies at Ray Stadium Friday night. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
June 21, 2003
The stars certainly came out early for the opening ceremonies of the State Games of Mississippi on Friday night.
The 12th annual State Games saw its torch lit in front of nearly 5,000 spectators and 1,800 athletes at Meridian High School's historic Ray Stadium. Afterwards, a brilliant fireworks display and music filled the air above the stadium.
The keynote address was delivered by George Wilson, a member of the 1964 Tokyo Games gold-medal winning men's basketball team. The Cincinnati resident was making his first appearance at the State Games. He was joined by fellow Mississippi U.S. Olympians Willye White and Mildrette Netter Graves.
The evening began with the parade of teams, as more than 50 cities throughout Mississippi were represented in the parade around the track. Most of the participants were youth soccer and softball teams, who open team competition throughout the Meridian area today.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith officially welcomed the athletes, coaches and parents to the Queen City.