Nearly 8,000 athletes representing countries around the world marched in the opening ceremonies for the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, Taiwan. The ceremonies were severely interrupted as a result of local protesters demonstrating against reforms in Taiwan’s pension system for government employees and teachers. However despite significant delays, Team USA did finally get to walk through the arena representing their country.
We asked Team USA setter, Valerie Jeffery (from Youngstown State University) to reflect on her experience;
Today we had the privilege to walk across an international stage set for the second biggest world athletic event, next to the Olympics. As the first zone of countries were being called up to walk, excitement grew at a steady rate. We were able to watch the entire ceremony from the jumbotron at center court.
To describe the feeling of being greeted by thousands of people, in a place you’ve never been to, at an event you’ll never partake in again, is actually quite impossible. All I could do was embrace this moment. From the plethora of USA flags surrounding me to the deafening sound of cheers, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around one word – gratefulness. I have a lot of people, and a great God to be grateful for. As I rounded the last corner of the track, all I could really do was smile, wave and embrace the shear joy that supplemented an opportunity such as this.
For the complete tournament schedule and match reports, visit the World University Games website here.