Opening Ceremonies

August 22, 1996
6:30 pm
Huntsman Arena
University of Utah Campus
Master of Ceremonies: Hank Rosenzweig

Parade of Athletes

A stunning processional of all the teams, in alphabetical order, accompanied by rousing music and lots of cheering as each team emerged from the tunnel entrance to Huntsman Arena.

Presentation of Colors - University of Utah ROTC

National Anthem - Sammy Arena
A transplant recipient who will be singing the national anthem at Yankee Stadium next week

NKF Chairman - Wendy Brown, MD

Read a message from President Clinton, who said "Best wishes for a memorable event"

Utah Organizing Committee President - Alan Hillerson

Thanked local and NKF organizers who made this event happen.
Salt Lake City Mayor - Dee Dee Corradini

National Spokesperson - Larry Hagman

Upon learning that Mr. Hagman's transplant was exactly a year ago - to the hour! - the audience spontaneous singing of "Happy Birthday". (see sound file of his whole talk and photos below)

NKF President - Alan Hull, M.D.

Mickey Mantle Foundation - Danny Mantle

Remembers the courage his father displayed during his last weeks of life, when he worked to start the Mantle Foundation, despite the physical pain he was in.

Transplant Community - Walter Graham

(of UNOS) About the Family Circus comic in which the little girl says "The heart of a organ donor must already be full of love." Bil Keane, the artist, will donate the original as a commemorative piece.

Primary Sponsor - Sandoz Pharmaceuticals Corporation

Told the story of Marc and Deanna (see Athlete Profiles)
Associate Sponsors - The Coca-Cola Company and National Council Corvette Clubs

Recipient Representative - Aron Eisenberg

An exhubrant, rousing talk by this star of "Start Trek: Deep Space 9" who is also a kidney recipient. He said that going through dialysis and his transplant gave him the strength to reach for his dreams.

Click here to hear Aron's enthusiastic comments.

Donor Family Representative - Brenda and Wayne Ashton

Mr. Ashton spoke about the donation of his son Adam's organs, and about how moving it was for them to see so many recipients in one place. (see Adam's memorial web page )

Tribute to Donor Families

Donor families, seated on the main floor of the arena, were presented lei's and medals, while photos of their loved ones were shown on large screens overhead. A very moving moment!

Benediction - Skip Weisenbaker

Greetings from Honorary Games Spokesperson - Carl Lewis

(best wishes from Mr. Lewis, via a videotaped message)

Athletes' Oath - Kyle Aiuto & Sam Shapiro

The youngest and oldest athletes read the oath.

Torch Lighting - Maureen Olivero & Larry Hagman

The crowd burst into loud cheers - "Let the Games begin!"

The Ceremony was followed by a party outdoors, complete with a live band, dinner, and much mingling and socializing.
Click here to hear Mr. Hagman's speech in Real Audio (If you don't have the Real Audio player, you can get it free at

Return to 1996 US Transplant Games main page

Last modified: 11 May 2000