ARTICLE 4 comments
08/14 2009

Torch Bearer

I first dreamt about being in the Olympics in 1988. I remember, at the age of ten years old, seeing the Calgary Olympic torch relay on television. Remember, that was an era of mobilization in Canada – people were doing the impossible. It all started in 1980 with Terry Fox, the brave young teenager who attempted to cross Canada on his Marathon of Hope raising money for cancer research. In 1984, Steve Fonyo picked up Terry’s torch and completed what cancer cut short for Terry. Then in 1985 Rick Hansen took it a step further and launched the world “Man in Motion” tour raising money for spinal cord injury research. Canadians, it seemed, could do anything they wanted to.

So, when the Calgary Olympic torch came across Canada, my young brain connected the nobility of Terry’s, Steve’s and Rick’s efforts to what I was about to witness in Calgary. Different in many ways, but similar too; individuals doing what seemed impossible to most; believing in one’s self without exception; fearless to a fault.

Three Olympics under my belt and I’m living proof of what I believed true in 1988. I have a fearless approach to dreaming. I figure out how to achieve what once seemed impossible, and I will push my body beyond what seems like its breaking point. This is my legacy to my children.

What happened yesterday, then, is both surprising and heart-warming. At 3 in the afternoon, someone from Coca Cola called and asked me to run a 300 metre portion of the 2010 Olympic torch relay; one of thousands. With those 300 steps I will become a part of what ignited the dream for me. I will become a small part of a relay that inspires millions, passing the torch from one person to the next. In Sydney, I saw as the torch brought a racially divided country together, even just for a moment, to celebrate one of their best athletes, Kathy Freeman, when she ran the Olympic torch up the long steps to light the Olympic Cauldron.

Now we can bring this tool, this vehicle of inspiration, to our children. Just as watching a generation of athletes and heroes carrying the torch – both figuratively, in Terry Fox’s case; literally, for thousands of others – inspired me, so I hope to be a small part of a process that inspires others. A small personal circle will be closed for me, but, on a larger scale, a whole new generation of Canadians might believe that the impossible is worth doing.

Watch for me – and the thousands of others who make this possible – on October 30th, 2009.

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