It is difficult to put into words the truly amazing experience I had last Friday as I carried the 2010 Olympic Torch along the Callaghan Road as it traveled from Whistler Olympic Park to the town of Whistler. From the moment I arrived at my designated meeting place and met the group of torchbearers with whom I would be sharing a shuttle, we were all made to feel an important part of this journey. We introduced ourselves, learned how to hold the torch and pass the flame, and shared our individual stories of how we came to be here. Everyone’s story was inspirational and touching. We even had a former Olympian in our group. We took lots of photos, saw video footage from other days and were given some last-minute words of inspiration as we traveled to each person’s spot along the road.
The Torch had travelled 99 days to where we were at that moment. Officially a symbol of peace, harmony and goodwill, to me, it also represents the determination and spirit of Olympic athletes, and the pure magic of the Olympic Games. This particular 106-day relay is also a uniquely Canadian experience, and once it arrives in Vancouver on Friday, the flame will have been within a one-hour’s drive of 90% of the population, and have passed through over 1,000 communities.
My actual time with the flame was brief, but exhilarating. It was an honour to be part of this flame’s journey and humbling to represent Canada and our athletes. A strong contingent of Whistler friends joined my family in cheering me on and made the experience even more personal. The shuttle bus ride back to my family meeting place was a let-down, as I knew it would be, but that feeling was soon replaced by the happy sounds of my young boys. We headed to Whistler where we saw the cauldron being lit, and there we enjoyed live music, fireworks and an incredibly upbeat, proud atmosphere, fitting of a small town about to make its Olympic debut. Having grown up skiing at Whistler and even spent a couple of years living and working in the town, I could not help feeling extremely lucky to have carried the torch here.
As the torch now makes its final journey through Vancouver today and tomorrow, get out and cheer it on—it will renew your Olympic spirit.