KAZAN – Those present at the Opening Ceremony of the 27th Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia, will not disagree … it was a breathtakingly awesome opening. The sold-out stadium was overwhelmed with the visual magic the host conjured on the 360° projection screen (2,400 m²) in the middle of the Kazan Arena and carried by four supporting 60m-high arches, weighing each more than 500 tons.
After the warm-up by the master of ceremony, the peoples of Russia paraded around the stadium. The spectators witnessed a theatrical presentation that featured vivid images and the living myths and legends of more than 180 ethnic groups living in Russia with ‘Chelovjek’ (Russian for man) as its main character. The parade was a reflection of Russia showing a face made up of hundreds of fragments.
A time machine brings the spectator back to olden times, to the beginnings of Kazan’s millennial history, based on myths and legends, victories and tragedies, outstanding personalities and wonderful local people, who treasure their roots and yet are also looking to the future. The attentive spectator understands: Kazan is a dynamic city, its citizens are happy to see the new visitors and the wind of change is in the air.
According to the legend, the city is protected by Zilant, the winged dragon, which is depicted on Kazan’s flag and coat of arms.
The Kazan Kremlin, UNESCO World Heritage Site, embodies the main values important to Tatar people, such as tolerance, religious pluralism and respect for ancestors.
The Kremlin disappears, the enchanting forest appears. Russia is a vast country where its inhabitants speak different languages and were people can be far away from each other. All the same, they are close at heart.
On his time travel, the spectator meets the immortal Russian scientists, addicted to knowledge and exploring new places. Early discoveries triggered a chain of events which brought greater understanding of the world, leading us to where we are today.
Then suddenly the 20th Century is behind us… What did it bring? Momentous changes in world history and great upheaval for Russia. In looking back at the past, the Russians’ aim is not to criticise, but to understand and learn from their country’s dramatic history.
The Russian delegation
Together with Gagarin, who was the first person to see the earth from the outside, the spectator travels to outer space. Thanks to the cosmonaut each of us can get a sense of the earth’s power and vulnerability. Nature accepts us as we are…
A fantastic show blended with the traditions of FISU – the marching pass of the delegations, the hoisting of the FISU Flag under the chants of the FISU anthem ‘Gaudeamous Igitur’, the athletes’ and officials’ oath – comes to an end…
Last but not least the Universiade flame is ignited in the cauldron on top of the arches of the construction holding the giant projection screen.
It was FISU President Gallien who invited Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation to open the Games which he did with great enthusiasm!
Let the 27th Universiade begin!
C. Pierre, Press Officer