The 18th Pan American Games officially commenced on Friday, 26 July 2019 at Lima's Estadio Nacional.
With more than 50,000 people in attendance and 41 participating countries, Kemar Hyman, a two-time Olympian and Cayman Islands 100 metre national record holder, led the Cayman Islands delegation of eight into the stadium as the country’s flag-bearer.
Under an overcast sky and slight mist, the delegation of eight joined the parade of nations into the stadium to the beat of Peruvian drums, and around the Nevado Pariacaca, the sacred mountain of Lima. Dressed in ‘island chic’ attire, the men wore light blue linen pants, white shirts, hats and boat shoes, while the women also supported hats but were in white dresses and white heeled sandals.
The delegation included Raegan Rutty, Gymnast; Angel Rutty, Gymnastic Manager; Edward Umphrey, Gymnastic Coach; Jesse Jackson, Sailor; Raphael Harvey, Sailing Coach; Eilidh Bridgeman, Chef de Mission; and Jade Webster, Press Attaché.
Athletes entered the stadium in an order dictated by tradition; the host of the inaugural Pan American Games Argentina entered first, the Peruvian delegation entered last representing the host nation. The remaining countries entered in Spanish alphabetical order. Cayman Islands, Islas Caimán, was the 24th country to enter into the arena, directly behind Honduras and in front of British Virgin Islands, Islas Vírgenes Británicas.
Peru received the largest cheer from the crowd as their delegation was led out by an Ekeko, the Tiwanakan god of abundance and prosperity.
The spectators in the sold out stadium were taken back through Peruvian history, with ancient cultures and civilizations evoked through music and dance. Pre-Hispanic gods, Peruvian Paso horses and a digital reincarnation of Peruvian singer Chabuca Granda featured throughout the Ceremony.
Peruvian Tenor Juan Diego Florez, wowed the crowd with his song 'The Cinnamon Flower' which brought actual tears to the eyes of some in the audience. Latino megastar Luis Fonsi sent the decibels soaring into the Lima sky.
As the Opening Ceremony came to an end, 16 days of competition are set to begin across 39 sports, with near 6,700 athletes expected to participate.
Raegan Rutty will start the competition for the Cayman Islands on Saturday, 27 July competing in qualifying round for Artistic Gymnastics.
Laser Standard Sailor Jesse Jackson takes on 5 days of sailing, starting on Aug. 3 and ending on Aug. 9.
John Bodden begins on Aug. 6 in the 400m free and 200m butterfly. Bodden will also swim on Aug 10. in the 1500m freestyle. Lauren Hew and Brett Fraser commence on Aug. 7 in the 200 m freestyle and 100m butterfly, respectively. Hew will then compete on Aug. 8 in 100m freestyle and Aug. 9 in 50 m freestyle. Fraser will follow along on Aug. 8 and Aug. 9 in the 100m freestyle and 50 m freestyle.
Kemar Hyman begins his 100m sprint prelims on Aug. 6, if he qualifies to the semifinals Hyman will race on Aug. 7.
The Cayman Islands have competed at each edition of the Pan American Games since joining the quadrennial competition for the first time at the Indianapolis 1987 Pan Am Games.