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2014 Special Olympics USA Games | Opening Ceremonies

Pat Tierney - Thursday, June 26, 2014

 

Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.

I think it is safe to say that these 15 words have had an immeasurable impact on all of us at Bow & Arrow Productions. This year we were honored to produce the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, hosted in New Jersey, where we heard thousands of Special Olympics Athletes enthusiastically repeat this oath.  

Nearly a decade ago, we were honored to produce the first National Special Olympic Games. As with the traditional Olympics, these games are held once every 4 years in different cities across the United States. A new team of dedicated professionals in the hosting state, is tasked with the responsibilities of creating these games for nearly 4,000 competitive athletes from across the United States.  

After a review of companies from across the country, the 2014 games organizers selected Bow & Arrow to produce what they called their “crown jewel,” the 2014 Games Opening Ceremonies at the Prudential Center in Newark. Led by this fantastic organizing committee, these games promised to be bigger than ever before and as with past Special Olympics events, they quickly became a labor of love for all of us at Bow & Arrow.  

As soon as our selection was announced we immediately began planning for these landmark games – and plan did we ever.  

We immediately jumped into writing scripts and putting together show flows, contracting entertainment & speakers, creating custom videos and music scores, designing all of the graphics and “looks” for the ceremonies, handling the logistics of a live show with nearly 4,000 Special Olympics Athletes involved, and all of the technical production for an arena show with over 18,000 spectators as well as an “at home audience” watching on TV or online.  

 

 

After months and months of planning and creating, thousands of miles in travel, and countless hours of rehearsals, the Opening Ceremonies commenced in true New Jersey fashion – an over the top celebration of the 2014 USA Games and the Special Olympics Movement.  

The opening ceremonies began with a performance of a custom song developed by Bow & Arrow titled “Heart of a Champion” preformed by Billy Joel Band Member and Leader of Big Shot (the official Billy Joel Tribute Band) Michael DelGuidice. You can hear that song in the recap video of the games at the end of this post.   The parade of athletes followed, introducing each of the states and all of the athletes. Part of our business-winning design included 4 satellite stages that gave each athlete their moment on stage as they were introduced.

   

The evening then continued with star-studded entertainment and speakers including Glee’s Jane Lynch, Model & Actress Brooklyn Decker, NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter Williams, Jack Ford, Broadway’s Jenniffer DiNoia, David Garibaldi from America’s Got Talent, Oprah’s Pop Star Challenge Winner LaShell Griffin, WWE Superstars Big Show & David Otunga, Rutgers Coach Kyle Flood, Basketball Star Kevin Laue, and a host of dignitaries and special guests.  

As we put together strategic messaging and show flows for this event, a key goal was to always make the athletes the stars. And they were the biggest stars there that night! We were proud to put athletes on stage, introducing delegations & sharing their inspirational stories.  

 

 

A particularly moving part of the evening was a piece called “The Making of a Champion.” Written & Developed by Bow & Arrow Executive Producers Mike Mars and Chris Mars, this piece utilized multiple presenters from athletes to parents, sports stars and two celebrity narrators (Jane Lynch & David Otunga) which collaboratively shared the journey how each of the athletes in the arena became champions.  

 

 

The evening concluded with the raising of the Special Olympics Flag and the presentation & lighting of the 2014 Caldron (produced by Bow & Arrow). The games were officially declared open by Tim Shriver.  

 

 

The opening ceremonies proved to be a powerful evening that we at Bow & Arrow were truly humbled and honored to be a part of – but most all we were proud to help reveal America’s Champions.

 

For more information about the Special Olympics Movement, be sure to visit them online

 

 

Heart of a Champion Special Olympics "Games in Review"

Video & Music Produced by Bow & Arrow Productions.

Song: Heart of a Champion

Performed by: Mike DelGuidice

Theme song for the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games

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