State Games officially begin
By By Jeff Byrd staff writer
Amid a sea of color and pagentry, the State Games of Mississippi opened Friday night before a crowd of nearly 4,000 fans and 1,200 young athletes at Meridian High's Ray Stadium.
For former Olympic gold-medalist and Laurel native Ralph Boston, the opening ceremony proved to be a gratifying experience.
Boston won a gold medal in the long jump at the 1960 Rome games. He broke Jesse Owens' 24-year-old Olympic record in the long jump and would go on to set the world record five times, the last coming on a jump of 27-feet-5 inches in 1965.
He won a silver medal at the Tokyo Games in 1964 and won the bronze when Bob Beamon shattered the world record at the 1968 Mexico City Games.
But on this night, Boston was here to share the Olympic experience.
The opening ceremony certainly made an impression on Amory softball player Nicki Banks.
Zack Chism, 15, of Meridian has been to the State Games a handful of times.
Providing the voice in introducing the teams as they entered the stadium was Dennis Warren.
The competition begins bright and early this morning with several sports starting such as softball, soccer, adult basketball, archery, bowling, track and field and table tennis.
Some 4,200 athletes are expected to compete in 24 sports over the next two weekends.