TORONTO (AP) - The Pan Am Games opening ceremony kicked off with a gravity-defying stunt from Olympic gold medalist Donovan Bailey.
With 45,000 spectators packed into the sold-out Rogers Centre, a pre-recorded bit depicted members of Canada’s gold medal-winning 4x100-meter relay team from the 1996 Olympics trotting the torch around Toronto.
Glenroy Gilbert passed the torch through some impressive pyrotechnics all the way up the CN Tower to Bruny Surin, who ran laps around the structure’s peak.
There, he passed the torch to Bailey - who promptly base-jumped off the 553-meter-high structure, parachuting onto the roof of the dome.
The pre-recorded bit then transitioned to the live opening ceremony, with Bailey descending from the ceiling to pass the torch once more, to 15-year-old Canadian diver Faith Zacharias.
The parade of nations followed, with Canada’s contingent of 719 athletes entering Rogers Centre last to a loud cheer. Third-generation paddler Mark Oldershaw, an Olympic bronze medalist in London, carried the Maple Leaf.
Cirque du Soleil had guarded details of the 150-minute presentation carefully, noting that 625 performers representing 25 nationalities would take part.
The Pan Am Games run through July 26.
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