Jul 27, 2011 6:01 PM by Lee Douglas/Colorado Springs Sports Sports Corporation
Colorado Springs - Figure skater Rachael Flatt, a 2010 U.S. Olympian and U.S. National Champion, will light the official flame to open the 10th Rocky Mountain State Games Friday night at the Colorado Springs World Arena.
Flatt lived and trained in Colorado Springs for years, graduating from Cheyenne Mountain High School and skating for the world famous Broadmoor Skating Club. She's headed for Stanford University this fall to begin her pursuit of a degree in chemical engineering while mapping out her skating future.
The Vancouver Olympian is no stranger to State Games competition, either. She won a three gold medals and a Ladies Junior title at the 2005 State Games of America in Colorado Springs at the age of 13, on the ice at the same arena where she will light the Games' flame Friday evening.
Past celeb athletes lighting the torch include Olympians Steve Holcomb (bobsled), Rulon Gardner (wrestling), Michelle Kwan (figure skating), Apolo Ohno (short track speed skating), Derek Parra (speed skating) and Henry Cejudo (wrestling).
The Torch Touch relay leading to the lighting of the Games' cauldron on the arena floor by Flatt includes Katie Uhlaender, the two-time Winter Olympian in Skeleton who is shooting to make the London Games U.S. Olympic Team in weightlifting, Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, Colorado Springs Sports Corp Chairman Dave Palenchar, Experience Colorado Springs CEO Doug Price, and USOC Director of NGB Organizational development Rick Adams among a group of twenty individuals in the relay.
The cauldron lighting will conclude the Opening Ceremony and kick off the second big weekend of the Games in Colorado Springs, with some 3,500 athletes set to compete Friday through Sunday in more than 30 sports.
Taylor Hicks, a favorite son of Alabama whose singing earned him the Season Five American Idol crown, will be the featured performer at the Opening Ceremony on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Fans can come to the arena at 5:00 for a wide range of pre-ceremonies activities outside.
The talented singer and songwriter will entertain the crowd and the athletes who will march in the evening's parade of competitors. The celebration will feature the traditional parade of athletes, a BMX performance by the Yellow Design Stunt Team, gymnastics and taekwondo sport demonstrations, and the lighting of the State Games cauldron.