Miss Virginia 2021 to open Virginia Commonwealth Games Friday

Miss Virginia 2021 Tatum Sheppard will open the Virginia Commonwealth Games July 23.
Miss Virginia 2021 Tatum Sheppard will open the Virginia Commonwealth Games July 23.(MissVa)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 9:38 AM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Miss Virginia 2021 will continue a long-standing tradition Friday night when she opens the Virginia Commonwealth Games in Lynchburg.

Miss Virginia Tatum Sheppard will help lead athletes onto the Williams Stadium field before singing the National Anthem to officially open this year’s games at Liberty University.

“I’m excited to represent Virginia and the young people of our Commonwealth and get to see all the hard work they’ve put in,” said Sheppard. “It’s especially honoring to celebrate these athletes at my alma mater, Liberty University, and kick off the games by singing the national anthem and helping lead the parade of athletes.”

Sheppard graduated from Liberty in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Before being selected as Miss Virginia, she worked as a professional actor. Sheppard will compete for Miss America later this year.

Friday’s opening ceremonies will feature Antoine Craig - a blind Paralympian on Team USA Track & Field - as torch bearer. Craig, who is from Richmond, is currently qualified as an alternate for the Tokyo Paralympics running the 100m and 400m. He will compete in these events at the Commonwealth Games.

Local first responders will light the cauldron, to be followed by a fireworks display. The event will begin at 8 p.m. and is free to the public.

The Virginia Commonwealth Games is modeled after the Olympics and welcomes athletes regardless of age or skill level. Virginia Amateur Sports has been organizing the event for 32 years.

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