By: Reginald Tiangha

I know that Closing Ceremonies are typically causes for celebration, and this one was no different. Before the WorldSkills Calgary 2009 Closing Ceremonies started, all of the competitors and their fans were chanting and singing and celebrating in their own way.

The ceremony was supposed to start at 6 PM, but it was delayed for about 30 minutes while they waited for all of the delegates to arrive. So, as you’ll see in the video below (taken with my very amateurish digital camera from my vantage point in the stands), the competitors decided to take it into their own hands to amuse themselves until the ceremony started.

It’s important to note that at this point in time, the majority of the delegates had already taken their seats, and were waiting on the last few countries to arrive. They had already been seated for about 12 minutes or so. It’s important because of what happened next:

and before you knew it, it ultimately turned into this:

As you can see, it started with a bunch of Koreans standing near their seats, dancing and waving their flags, probably killing time until the festivities were to start.

All of a sudden (much to my surprise, as I had only intended to get video of the Koreans), they were joined by a trio of Swedes who spontaneously decided to leave their seats and join them. Then, the entire Swedish delegation joins in the dancing, followed by a Swiss and a person from France, and they all decide on the spur of the moment to circle march around the stage. Unscripted and fully spontaneous, all of the delegations decide to join in, much to the crowd’s delight! All of a sudden, it had turned into a full-blown Parade of Nations, and the ceremony hadn’t even begun yet!

This particular moment essentially defined what this night was about: A night of celebration, collaboration, and camaraderie between nations and competitors.

The Best of Nations on Display

Much of the night continued in the same vein. No matter who it was that took to the podium in the 45 skill competitions, countries and competitors were supportive of each other, and everyone was happy for everyone else. The Young Canadians were on hand to ensure the celebrations remained colourful and full of excitement by singing, dancing, escorting the winners as they took to the podium, and showering competitors with confetti.

The hard working volunteers of WorldSkills Calgary 2009 had cause for celebration as well: WorldSkills International President Tjerk Dusseldorp declared the Calgary competition “the best competition ever,” praising the hard work of the Calgary volunteers, the innovation that Calgary brought to the table in all aspects from operations, technology, new media, and everything in between, and that it set the bar very high for WorldSkills London 2011.

The WorldSkills Calgary 2009 Closing Ceremonies may have marked the end of competition and four years worth of hard work from all of the 3,000 WorldSkills volunteers, but it also marked the beginning of a new chapter for everyone involved.

For those who had participated, new friendships were made, and new knowledge and techniques were acquired that could then be taken back to their respective countries of origin and applied to their various trades.

For those who had watched, perhaps their courses in life have been altered by what they had seen. Who knows if someone out there in the crowd or who had attended because of a school field trip will choose to pursue a career in the trades thanks to what they had seen in Calgary? If they’ll be the ones to innovate and become famous for doing so? Of if they, at the very least, gained a greater appreciation for those who decide to take up a trade when before, they did not?

No matter what comes next, all the people involved in WorldSkills 2009 have the right to hold their heads high, and to congratulate themselves on a job well done!