Olympians Reflect on London Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies

BVI Delegation outside the London Olympic Games Stadium, before marching in the Opening Ceremonies. L-R: Chef de Mission, Dag Samuels; Physiotherapist, Dr. Angela Salsedo; Coach, Winston Potter; Team Doctor, Dr. Robin Tattersall, J'Mall Alexander, Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, Craig Riggley, Team Assistant; BVI Olympic Committee President Ephraim Penn and Team Attache, Shirley Parker.

LONDON, July 31—An Olympic Games opening ceremonies veteran, a returnee and a newbie, were among the British Virgin Islands delegation, joining the 204 nations marching in the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games.

Team Doctor Robin Tattersall—who marched in the territory’s inaugural Olympic Games venture in Los Angeles in 1984 and again in Barcelona in 1992—at 82 is the territory’s oldest Olympian.

Tahesia Harrigan-Scott became the territory’s first female flag bearer in successive Olympic Games—following up on the honor four years ago on Beijing where she also became the territory’s first Olympic Games semifinalist in an event—and joined Keita Cline as the only flag bearing athletes in successive Olympic Games—with Cline holding the territory’s banner in Atlanta in 1996 and again in Sydney in 2000.

J’Maal Alexander is making his Olympic Games debut.

“I’ve never seen so many smiling faces and everybody around is in such wonderful form, even though we didn’t see the opening ceremony because we were outside lining up to come in,” Dr. Tattersall noted. “In previous opening ceremonies, we were held up in an auditorium and it wasn’t the same thing. The feeling of going through this long line of all these school children from all over the country all cheering was a great spectacle before we even got in. So that aspect of it was better than in LA or Barcelona—but still the same thrill that one got back in those days.”

Harrigan-Scott said it was a good experience and noted it was hotter in Beijing. “They tried to make it a little bit quicker this year and all athletes always complain about the waiting time, but carrying the flag for a second time is an honor—to be here for successive Olympic Games,” she said, noting it was a joyous feeling walking into the Olympic Stadium. “It was lots of joy and I was just thinking about carrying the flag and having a very good time. There’s a lot of people, and having everybody here to support me.”

Hsrrigan-Scott who will contest the 100m prelims on Friday morning, also got an opportunity to catch up with several friends and opponents. “It’s always a common meeting ground when you go to a meet and you tend to see the same athletes over and over again,” she said. “It was to come out here, have fun, then it’s basically down to business.”   

Alexander said it was a great experience. “The atmosphere was filled with a lot of energy which is going towards the athletes and we’re feeling very exciting to be here,” he said. “This is an experience that a lot of people don’t get so we have to take advantage of it.”