Saturday July 30 - Model day!
After a solid breakfast, the US Team boarded the busses to head out to the woods for one last day of training. We were brought to another park from what we trained at the day before. Except today, we practiced with small model maps, and there were controls placed on the course. In addition to the lime and charcoal burning pits, we were surprised to find massive depressions, which were abundantly spread across the map. Some of the depressions even lead into small caverns. Almost every country was in attendance, which helped provide a good race-like environment. The temperature slowly increased throughout the training session and proved to be an important consideration for longer races. Water points will definitely be a crucial stop on the hotter days. After an hour and half of training, we returned back to the busses and began our journey back to campus. Once arriving back, we caught a quick lunch and then prepared for the technical model event. This event included a quick review on what to expect at the call-up and finish lines for each race. We were also served small samples of a Hungarian electrolyte drink that will be provided at water stations throughout the competition. The West Point crew was also introduced to the SI Air technology and got to practice with the new equipment on a small Sprint course that was set up at the event center. With the temperature continuing to climb, we quickly conducted all the training that was necessary and returned back indoors. After battling head to head with some other countries in foosball, we prepared for the opening ceremonies that were to be held at the local castle later in the evening.
With flags in hand, we made our way to the busses that would transport us to the opening ceremony location. All of the competitors were amassed in a concrete plaza, and filed behind our respective flags. We were organized in alphabetic order by country for the parade that was to follow. We were placed in the second to last spot in the long file of competitors, while Hungary occupied the last spot since they were the hosting country for the competition. We paraded through a medieval themed village and arrived to acastle on a hilltop. We were greeted by the king and queen of the medieval village in addition to the guards who looked very hot in their thick suits of armor. Luckily, they were pretty friendly and we were able to snap some pictures with them. There was a large opening in the middle of the castle that was open to sky and all the competitors were seated on wooden benches that faced a small stage. Once every country had been seated, the President of FISU and the national Hungarian Athletic Association along with the Vice Mayor of Miskolc gave short speeches. Luckily, all of speeches were in English so we were able to follow along. The Hungarian National Anthem was played, and there was also a performance that involved juggling by men on stilts! Once the closing remarks had been made and the ceremony had concluded, we made our way back to the busses and drove back to campus. With less than 18 hours before the first start, we quickly grabbed dinner and had a quickteam meeting to discuss the next day’s event. Ready for the next day, we all returned to our rooms to get some rest for the exciting race ahead!