The Closing Ceremony at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium will bring The World Games 2013 Cali to a conclusion later today. It is bound to produce the last sell-out crowd for an event that stands out among the nine editions held to date due to the overwhelming enthusiasm with which the Cali residents welcomed the 4,000 athletes and their 30+ sports.
The "Live from Cali" blog will soon get archived too. The next one - "Live from Stuttgart" - is just around corner!
The full-length webcasts of the World Games DanceSport events continue to be available for viewing from the Cali Organising Committee's streaming site. The links are below! 300 photographs taken at the Cañaveralejo bullfighting arena by Helmut Roland have been added to the Gallery.
The World Games 2013 | DanceSport: Standard and Salsa | 28 July
The World Games 2013 | DanceSport: Latin and Salsa | 27 July
Sports have much to do with emotions. This also holds true for top-level competitive sports played out in front of spectators. There, it's the emotions on the part of those who do sports - who try hardest, who give their best - and on the part of those looking on and sharing in the emotions of the sportsmen and women in competition.
To appreciate the importance of The World Games for the participating athletes, one needs to be able to grasp the full range of emotions that they are exposed to during such an event.
It is an experience very different from what the athletes are used to in their "normal" competitions - in world championships or other prestigious events - as it is heightened in every respect, in terms of scale and intensity.
German Salsa dancer Aki Kalaitzis had his camera running when he paraded together with his partner Maria and the other members of the DOSB delegation during the Opening Ceremony at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium on 25 July. Watch and share the emotions!
The WDSF Communications team in Cali has tried its best to share some of the truly unforgettable moments that The World Games offered to the WDSF contingent of athletes and officials with you, the followers of this blog.
It was not easy to provide you with the usual depth and scope in our reporting as WDSF, like all the other IWGA Member Federations, does not hold any rights to the moving images of The World Games. But the hosts have ensured quality streams on both days of the competition, and communications team member Dr Helmut Roland has recorded what was allowed. Atmosphere, interviews, etc.
With this collection of interviews recorded prior to the competitions the "Live from Cali, COL" coverage on The World Games 2013 is about to conclude ...
Many considered it to be the time of their lives, the most unforgettable experience of their sporting careers ... And that was before the DanceSport competitions of The World Games 2013 got underway at the Cali bullfighting ring. A selection of interviews with athletes competing in Cali on the evening before two nights that lived up to everyone's highest expectations.
The President of the Republic of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, was unfortunately unable to declare The World Games 2013 Cali open on 25 July. Health problems kept him from travelling to the host city, and Vice President Angelino Garzón had the honour of welcoming the sporting world and inaugurating the games then.
One week later, a recovered President Santos put in an appearance at The World Games, congratulating the Colombian athletes as well as the organisers for their respective achievements, and expressing the central government's gratitude with a generous gesture. One that will enhance the city's reputation as "World Capital of Salsa" even further. Keep on dancing, Cali!
In a press conference held at the International Media Centre he singled out the Salsa gold medallists Adriana Ávila - Jéfferson Benjumea as "role models for young Colombians" and pledged the govrenment's financial support for the construction of a "bailodromo" - a dedicated venue for DanceSport - in Cali.
Following up on yesterday's post about the "Kiss & Cry" zone and what is expected from our athletes there, we award the Oscar for best performance in a leading role to Sergei Konovaltsev and Olga Konovaltseva. The couple interacted best with the crowd of 17,000 at Plaza de Toros Cañaveralejo and with the camera.
Whereas their peers often resorted to a timid wave or a blown kiss, Sergei and Olga expressed the full range of emotions in a most telegenic way. After every solo dance!
We compared their performances with those of athletes in gymnastics and concluded that they are up to par with the very best there too.
A "Kiss & Cry" zone has been used in GrandSlam finals ever since the beginning of the year. In this zone, the finalist couples await their scores after each of the solo dances and - that's at least the idea - react to them. The concept is certainly not new and has been an important facet of the TV coverage on many other artistic sports (figure skating, gymnastics, etc.).
DanceSport athletes still seem to be struggling a little when it comes to making a convincing on-screen appearance ... But things are definitely getting better with every competition where "K&C" is used.
After a rather sluggish start with natural reactions on the part of couples in the Latin competition on 27 July, the Standard couples were given some basic instructions in writing. The script read as follows.
Standard Couples at Kiss & Cry
After you finish your solo dances, you do what you usually do in terms of references to the public (definitely not longer than 10”), afterwards you proceed immediately to the floor exit where you will be expected and taken to the K&C
You set up in front of the screen where you will see the final portion of the replay of your dance … At one point, you will see yourself on this screen – and shortly afterwards you will see the scores appear. Once that happens, try to act naturally but do show some type of a reaction … A kiss, a wave, thumbs up, whatever … Try to think of the TV audience: do something that would make the people remember you. Stay in the K&C zone for 15” … Then turn and walk away slowly.
This K&C not only shows the human face of DanceSport, it also helps to promote you.
For Heaven's sake, it's one missing letter - no more, no less! The national media in Colombia - and above all two private TV channels - seem to make a bigger deal than is called for over the misspelled "World" on the medals of The World Games.
"Errare humanum est," which would probably translate into a more contemporary and colloquial "s..t happens," serves as an acceptable excuse.
But some of the media appear intent to narrow their coverage on The World Games 2013 down to the mishap. For three days already. Come to think of it, nobody noticed the error any earlier than Sunday - even though quite a few medals were awarded on Friday and Saturday too.
Well, the TV channels' persistence seemed to have triggered another "s..tstorm" (very contemporary lingo) among the Cali and Cauca Valley residents. They're now calling for a boycott of Caracol and RCN TV, two major national channels ... Under the motto "Cali residents enjoy, the rest complains - one letter will never spoil our party!," they campaign for more spelling tolerance! And for tuning out of Caracol and RCN!
To some, the ballroom was, is and will be, forever, the very essence for the competitive match-up of skills between dancers.
Whether it describes a dance style (Ballroom vs. Latin) or the place where the dances are performed (e.g. Victoria Ballroom at the Ritz), ballroom seems to be an integral part of it all. At least in the Anglo-Saxon perception by some!
The World DanceSport Federation has long made considerable efforts in bringing changes to this perception. Maybe now, after the DanceSport events of The World Games 2013 on 27 and 28 July, many will concur that ballroom - in whatever sense of the word - is no longer appropriate.
When close to 17,000 people come to watch 128 sportsmen and women perform - athletically and artistically - in a setting like the Plaza de Toros Cañaveralejo, ballroom is probably the last thing that comes to mind. When the 17,000 sing Colombia's national anthem together with a very young couple that just won gold in Salsa, there is great formality too, but it's entirely different to the one that is implied by ballroom traditionalists.
The medallists at The World Games 2013 will soon receive a second medal - by post or courier service. As it turns out, the medals awarded at the ceremonies do have a serious flaw. Reading the engraved text on one side - "The Word Games" - one wonders whether it makes reference to a spelling bee contest or an event for users of the Microsoft software of the same name. But it hardly implies an international sporting event of considerable stature.
It's an anecdote that the two winners of the Salsa gold, Adriana Ávila and Jéfferson Benjumea, tried to put into perspective. "Actually, for us they wouldn't have to change the medal at all," Jéfferson said. "What we have is the medal we were fighting for, the one that we were awarded in front of 16,000 people in an unforgettable night at the bullring."
"This is the medal we won dancing for Colombia, it has our tears and the endearment of the public on it already," is how his partner Adriana sees it.
Ron Froehlich, the President of the International World Games Association, sees the matter differently. "These athletes have worked hard over four years to get their medals, proper spelling is the least they can expect," he said.
1022 new medals will get shipped throughout the world!
The young Colombian dancers Adriana Ávila (15) and Jéfferson Benjumea (17) were crowned "Athletes of the Day" at The World Games 2013 Cali. The winners of the Salsa gold on 28 July not only brought down the house - or more specifically the Cañaveralejo bullring - on Sunday, they triggered a veritable media frenzy that could perdure for quite some time to come.
As the "Athletes of the Day" they were interviewed by the Cali Local Organising Committee. Adriana and Jéfferson made one thing very clear, besides their trainers and coaches there was another, a divine, entity that intervened to get them to the highest echelon on the podium.
It was the first DanceSport competition ever that had to be halted for rain. Just like Wimbledon! Benedetto Ferruggia and Claudia Koehler, winners of the Standard event at The World Games 2013 Cali, reflect on it ...