Letter – Torch bearer reflections

Editor: My Olympic Torch Run was in Quesnel – I had worked there in the 1960s and was aware of the possibility of very cold weather (I remember -40) so I was ready. On the day of, which turned out to be sunny and about +6C, we were briefed as to what to expect, how we were special (I loved it), how to receive the flame and how to handle the torch. I had a small cheering crew with me – we were all fired up. There were 16 of us on the bus that would drop each of us off at our designated spot. When I jumped out of the bus, I just had a few minutes to take some pictures and do a little whooping with my crew and some of the residents who were just as excited as I was, when suddenly over the hill comes security on bikes to turn on the bas on my torch. I can hear the big loudspeakers on the Coke truck and I hear my name and see the flame from the previous torch bearer. We greet, have a high five or tow, I receive the flame and I’m on my way. What a thrill to watch all the smiling faces looking at the flame and connecting that their experience was just as special as mine. It was over far too quickly and my flame was turned off and I watched it slowly recede and go out. We were picked up by another bus and were treated to watching the other torch bearers’ interaction with the crowds. Security made sure not to hustle those torch bearers’ that exchanged at schools. When we were dropped off in town for the lighting of the cauldron we walked freely among the crowd with our torches. It became obvious that people wanted to touch the torch. I was extremely honoured to be one of Canada’s 12,000 2010 Olympic torch bearers and I would like to thank all of you who helped me to not only be a part of this wonderful community celebration, so I could experience a deep sense of patriotism and say how proud I am to be Canadian. It is now one year from the date (Jan. 29, 2010) that I carried the torch and wrote the above article. I would like to thank the community of Quesnel for their outstanding efforts in making this such a special occasion for me. What great enthusiasm and community spirit. You did a great job. Phil Horton Burnaby, B.C.