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Songs, Hugs, and Fireworks

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[click to enlarge]

Story by Randy H. Milgrom
Audio by Bob Merion
Photography by Bob Garypie, Bob Merion and Peter Ottlakan

Our Swiss hosts bid adieu to the athletes – and their families and friends – in grand style this evening, as the 4th Winter World Games in Nendaz, Switzerland came to a smashing conclusion.

In a grand fete that began with drinks and delicious appetizers in the bar above the Tracouet restaurant on the mountaintop, followed with a sumptuous four-course feast, and ended with fire juggling and a huge fireworks display, the athletes celebrated late into the night on a night worth celebrating.

Although medals were awarded, appreciation was given, and praise and encouragement were bestowed, this evening was reserved first and foremost for fun. Everyone in the crowded room could be seen smiling and laughing and singing and hugging. They were all happy, tired, and proud, and many could be heard discussing their desires and intentions concerning the next World Transplant Games – in Kobe, Japan, this September.

The affable technical director of the Nendaz Games, Beat Gottschalck, summed up quite precisely the mood of the crowd in the simple conclusion to his characteristically short but heartfelt speech “Bye bye. Have fun. See you again!”