Former Olympian and Lawrence resident Jim Ryun helped open the Sunflower State Games on Friday night and said athletes should strive for a healthy spirit as well as a healthy body.
Ryun, one of America's most noted distance runners, told a crowd of more than 500 people that athletes are not one-dimensional.
"I'd like to suggest to you tonight that the well-rounded athlete is more than just one-dimensional in terms of physical, that it really is body, mind and soul," Ryun said. "And for a well-balanced athlete it's important that all three of these areas operate."
Ryun spoke in South Park during the ceremonies that officially opened the Sunflower State Games, which are being held through Sunday in Lawrence. The games are open to Kansas athletes of all ages.
Ryun, who won a silver medal in the 1,500-meter race at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, quoted from the Bible and told participants not to rely on themselves, but "in the Lord, who gave you your talents."
ATHLETES PARTICIPATING in the 14 sports that are part of the games sat in front of the South Park bandstand, where Ryun, Lawrence Mayor Shirley Martin-Smith and David Ambler, vice chancellor for student affairs at Kansas University, welcomed the crowd.
After Ryun's remarks, the Sunflower State Games torch was carried into the park by Hobert Wiggins, 72, who is competing in trap shooting, and Steven Scheier, a 5-year-old who is competing in wrestling. The two are the oldest and youngest participants in the games.
The torch was handed to William Trimmell, 71, who lighted the flame in the Olympic-style caldron.
"It is my distinct honor to declare the games officially open," Ryun said after the flame was lighted, ending Friday's opening ceremonies.
Trimmell, who will participate in the shotput competition, said he was honored to light the flame at the opening ceremonies.
"I thought it was quite enjoyable. I got a big kick out of it," he said.
Organizers said they were pleased with the number of people who turned out for Friday's ceremony.
"I think we had a pretty good turnout, especially for the first year," said Carol Cage, co-chairman of opening ceremonies activities.
THE SUNFLOWER State games is the first Olympic-style sports event for Kansans of all ages. More than 2,000 athletes and 1,000 volunteers have registered for the event. Thousands of spectators from across the state also are expected to visit Lawrence this weekend.
Cage and other organizers said they would be busy this weekend overseeing the games, which are being held at Kansas University and at other facilities in the city.
A volunteer and athlete registration headquarters was set up Friday in Allen Fieldhouse at KU. Participants must sign in and pick up their shirts at the registration center. Organizers said any interested volunteers may come to the registration center until 6 p.m. today and 7 a.m. to noon Sunday.
A schedule of Sunflower State Games events follows.
Basketball, until 10:45 p.m. in Robinson Center at KU.
Bowling, until 8 p.m. at Royal Crest Lanes, Ninth and Iowa streets.
Soccer, until 8 p.m. at Shenk Fields, 23rd and Iowa streets, and Youth Soccer Inc. Fields, Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive.
Softball, until 6 p.m. at Holcom Sports Complex, 2700 W. 27th St.
Tennis, until 4 p.m. across from Allen Fieldhouse near Robinson Center.
Track, until 5 p.m. at Haskell Indian Junior College, 23rd and Barker streets.
Volleyball, until 10 p.m. at Lawrence High School, 1901 La.
Weightlifting, until 4 p.m. at West Junior High School, 2700 Harvard.
Wrestling, until 6 p.m. at Haskell Indian Junior College, 23rd and Barker streets.
Basketball, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Robinson Center.
Bowling, noon to 6 p.m. at Royal Crest Lanes.
Cycling, 10 a.m. to noon at Riverside Elementary School, Kresge Road and North Iowa.
Soccer, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Shenk and Youth Soccer Inc. fields.
Tennis, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. near Robinson Center.
Track, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m at Haskell Indian Junior College.
Triathlon, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Clinton Lake State Park, Campground No. 2. Enter park on east main entrance (Clinton Parkway) and follow signs from there.