Let the Games Begin!

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“Let the Games begin!”

With those four words, Gov. Gary R. Herbert officially opened the 31st annual Utah Summer Games Thursday at Southern Utah University’s Eccles Coliseum in Cedar City.

Nearly 10,000 athletes from every corner of Utah are expected to compete at this year’s event, which features 36 sports ranging from archery to water polo. The competitors represent all skill levels, and range in age from 4 to 87 years old.

Organized in 1986, the Utah Summer Games is the 3rd longest-running state games in the country. Officials also announced the event is being renamed the “Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games” in honor of the late philanthropist, businessman and Utah Jazz owner who passed away in 2009.

The governor lauded the importance and value of sports to Utah.

“Sports are not only an important economic engine for Utah, they are a powerful unifying force that bring people from all walks of life together for an unmatched shared experience,” he said.

Herbert also touted the value of sports in teaching important life lessons about competing with honor, teamwork, dealing with disappointment and giving one’s best in every worthy field of endeavor.

The governor saluted the athletes for their “talent, competitive spirit, and drive and determination to be the best.”