by Andrew Uzarins, Managing Editor

The Second annual Winter Guard International Olympics could have been anticipated to be a competition beyond compare, judging from the way the top color guards had been clobbering each other through the season. Also, it could be anticipated that this would be another wonderful spectacle as had been the case with the initial Olympics that were held in the Chicago area last year. As matters turned out, what everyone saw and enjoyed on March 31 and April 1 in Oregon and Madison, Wisconsin, exceeded everyone's expectations and wildest dreams.

Newcomers and first-timers swore up and down that they would never again miss a color guard competition with their reach. Old timers and fans could be heard moaning in agony as one after another of the preliminary competitors was knocked out from the ranks of the finalists. Every guard was so outstanding in quality as well as in entertainment that everybody hoped to be able to see each in action again during finals; but there were thirty- two guards in contention and only fifteen of them would make it to the competition floor of Dane County Coliseum for the finals.

Even regular fans of color guard could not believe how much beauty, variety, innovation and pure entertainment had developed within this activity in such a short time, the two years since WGI was started. When all the top units came together under one roof, the effect was simply breathtaking.

The unexpected relocation of the prelims to a smaller facility at first looked like an adversity and the place was packed to the rafters, indeed, but this sardine can proximity between the guards and the spectators somehow produced special enthusiasm in both and everyone dreaded when the final moment would come for that day's competition, approximately a nine-hour marathon with a few brief intermissions.

As grand as the competition in the prelims were the facilities for the finals that were provided by Dane County Coliseum. While its vastness and seating capacity, and the size of the floor, tended to swallow up the audience as much as the competing finalists, it was nevertheless a pleasure to see color guards competing in this prestigious location rather than struggling in the type of animal pit that was the site of the annual championship competition only some three years ago...

...Unfortunately, words and pictures simply cannot measure up to the excellence which was displayed at this year's Olympics, because the excellence that was on display simply defies every description.


by M. J. Harry Heidelmark, DCN Staff

Leading off the WGI Olympic finals on April 1 in Madison, WI, were WI Racine Kilts - 14th 82.633 (0.2). Their show has several nice mood changes and uses hand and body motions well. Their ending is highlighted by turning a company front with a floating center which moves down the line.

IL Chicago Golden Knights - 15th 81.733 (0.5) - got off to a slow beginning using twiling sticks which have become popular in the Midwest. Superman, the man of steel, himself makes an appearance at the end of the guard's tribute to him. Several key drops hurt the continuity of the show.

IL Park Ridge Cavaliers - 12th 85.922 (0.5) - put together a fine well moving program for finals. The all-male unit generated a lot of excitement from the crowd.

NY Rushville Marcus Whitman - 13th 85.667 (0.6) - appeared to have improved in performance from the prelims on Saturday. The guard uses sabres as do most of the Eastern guards. The show is always at either double time or half time, but never at a steady normal cadence.

The larget facility added to the show of WI Madison State Street Review - 10th 86.300 (1.3). Even though it may look like the hobo color guard, it really looked well from upstairs.

While during prelims the guard looked like a bunch of nuts running around the floor, when the show was viewed from a higher vantage one could actually see fine patterns emerging. NY North Syracuse Northmen - 8th 98.00 (0.1) - opened yo "Applause applause," with a show that has a lot of well-executed weapons work. Their captain, as well as all the girls in the guard, display a great deal of pride, poise and sex appeal. In such a large building thier show suffers somewhat without the eye contact.

AL Birmingham Chapter V - 11th 86.200 (0.5) - was not up to par in the finals. This is another unit which looks much better in a smaller gymnasium. The guard used different soloists to help sell the show. In case any of you guys were thinking of trying to meet their captain, Susan Godfrey, I hate to tell you, but she's married to the guard's director/instructor, Frank Godfrey.

CT Bridgeport Skylarks - 7th 98.900 (0.3) - put on a much improved performance and I had really expected them to move up in the final standings. Although the music disappeared halfway through their performance, Skylarks continued on. When the sound was restored, they were right in step with the music.

The subtleness of MA Everett St. Anthony's Imperials - 5th 91.067 (0.3) - so almost spooky. One could only wonder what may come next year. From catching tosses with no hands to catching in their teeth, or possibly twirling with no hands, this was definately a good night for the guard.

WA Seattle Imperials - 4th 91.267 (0.4) - moved from their opener, "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue," into Hamp's "Boogie Woogie" nicely. However, I feel that they could do a little more with the equipment and a little less ballet.

IL Schaumburg Guardsmen - 6th 90.467 (0.0) - came high stepping and with nice equipment work. Some well done visual work at the end combined nicely for a good performance.

MA Stoneham St. Patrick's Shamrocks - 9th 88.667 (0.7) - were another guard which could not match it's performance in the perlims. The orange and yellow in their flags contrats nicely with their green and white uniforms.

NY Holly Hawks - 2nd 94.500 (0.0) - out on a well-exicuted and well-balanced performance. The all-rifle finale shows good use of weapons; but with so many behind the back catches, eight to be exact, things seemed to be a bit repetitious.

IL Rockfor Phantom Regiment - 1st 95.100 (0.1) - after an audio failure this guard left the auditorium to regroup and try again. As you are taken on a tour of their museum, you meet the Russian, the Comedian, and the Phantom of the Opera. The show winds to a close with guide turning out the light, closing the door and escourting the guard off the floor.

MA Revere Quasar - 3rd 94.167 (0.5) - has to be one of the classiest units ever seen. I totally enjoyed their show, but thought they, too, had done better in prelims. The smoke didn't seem to work well enough to get the necessary effect. The color at the end looked so magnificent from the stands that it was just unbelievable.

Party after the show with "Quasar". Gentleman in the lower right is the well known Michael Boo.

Quasar at CYO Circut Finals

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