"Unbelievable" experience for Marcelle

KAZAN, Russia (July 6, 2013) Canada’s flag bearer Shanice Marcelle, a volleyball player from the University of British Columbia, led her country into the opening ceremonies of the 2013 FISU Summer Universiade, Saturday night.

“The experience at the ceremonies was unbelievable,” said Marcelle, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Victoria. “Being able to represent the entire Canadian delegation of such amazing athletes and people was such an honour.”

Over 300 Canadian athletes followed behind her dressed in red as they made their way around the track during the hour-long athlete march at the sold-out Kazan-Arena, the largest stadium in the Volga region with a seating capacity of close to 50,000.

The ceremony traveled through time by beginning with performances inspired by early 20th century and moved on to modern performances as the night progressed. 

The audience was encouraged to participate in the performances by using a number of props provided in a white bag that was hung off each seat. The props - a white, a red and a green light, a bell, 3D glasses and a red torch - were on the small screens on either end of the arena allowing the entire crowd to be in unison. 

The 1,600-square meter screen hanging above the middle of the stage played a message from the Russian astronauts who are currently in space, in front of an audience-lit starlight night.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the event, even participating in ‘the wave’ as it made its way around the stadium.

“The opening ceremonies were amazing,” said Kristjana Young, a player on Canada’s women’s basketball team. “Kazan has been a great host and put on an entertaining show that I'm sure no one will forget.”

The ceremonies lasted over four hours and were packed full of native and cultural dances, fireworks and songs performed by Russian artists.

The night came to an end around 2 a.m. with speeches from President Putin and FISU President Claude-Louis Gallien. The event closed with the ceremonial torch pass and relay by four Russian athletes.