The torch has been passed and the residents of Kamloops left with big smiles and enough memories to fill a book as the 26th B.C. Seniors Games came to an end Saturday.
As far as Charlie Bruce, president of the local board for the games, is concerned, this latest incarnation was a huge success.
"From our perspective as a board, it was the best-ever seniors games," Bruce said after the closing ceremony.
He and his volunteers heard nothing but praise from athletes about the city's venues and contests, said Bruce. The games also made an economic mark with an estimated $3 million in revenue brought to the city.
"You couldn't find a motel or hotel room for a week. Many were booked six months in advance," said Bruce.
Bruce also shared his enthusiasm with volunteers, athletes and dignitaries during the closing ceremonies at the Tournament Capital Centre.
He said the 3,800 athletes who came and competed brought with them personal goals and aspirations, many of which were achieved.
The athletes also touched the lives of the games' 1,300 volunteers with heartfelt laughter, smiles and a lot of fond memories, said Bruce.
"You left the volunteers and the entire city of Kamloops with a boat load of memories. We could truly fill a book with the experiences we've had."
Many of the memories were shared during a slide slow between speeches. The athletes clapped and cheered at several of the pictures, which captured moments from track and field, cycling, dragon boating and other competitions.
June Parsons, president of the B.C. Seniors Games Society, said Kamloops did a wonderful job of hosting the event. She also said it was great to see so many young volunteers.
"That's what we're about, the interaction between us old folk and the young ones, so they can witness that you don't die at 55. You live," said Parsons.
Jazz musician Anita Eccleston and guitarist Kris Ruston entertained the crowd with a couple of songs.
"You guys can relax now," said Eccleston, who dedicated a cover of Cheek to Cheek to the athletes. "You guys are wonderful and I want to thank you all for being a part of this."
Many in the audience sang along to the lyrics.
Bruce handed the official flag and torch to Milt Kruger, chairman of next year's seniors games in Langley. That event will be held in September.
Acting Mayor Pat Wallace, who was in attendance with Coun. Donovan Cavers, congratulated Bruce and the athletes for a great tournament.
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