State Games get underway

By By Will Bardwell/staff writer
June 19, 2004
Lillian Zamora worried all day long on Friday.
As the 2003 State Games Female Athlete of the Year, Zamora was scheduled to light the State Games torch at Ray Stadium along with David Carr, last year's Male Athlete of the Year.
As it turned out, her anxiety was unwarranted. Zamora and Carr capped off Friday's opening ceremony by setting the torch ablaze without a hitch and officially beginning the 2004 State Games of Mississippi.
The opening ceremony began at 7:30 p.m. and lasted just over an hour and a half. Lindsey Hall, a local television sportscaster, served as master of ceremonies and welcomed competitors into the stadium during the parade of athletes. Participants in the parade were sorted by hometown, beginning with Biloxi's contingent and ending with athletes from Vicksburg. More than a thousand adults and children marched in the parade.
After a team of three skydivers delivered an American flag and Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith briefly praised the participants, a rock cover band played for half an hour as fans and athletes gathered on the field. Scores of observers sat around the track to listen to music, while children played games and chased one another on the turf.
The parents oath, officials oath and athletes oath were administered afterward.
To end the ceremony, Zamora and Carr lit the State Games torch by circling the track and bringing smaller torches on to an elevated platform. Zamora and Carr brought their torches to a cable that spanned the length of the stadium, triggering a screaming ball of flame that shot down the cable and into the State Games torch about 150 yards away.
The night ended with a fireworks show set to a score of music that included several inspirational songs, such as the theme from "Chariots of Fire" to Neil Diamond's "Coming to America."

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