Monday, November 16, 2009

The Olympics are coming to Canada...

The flame is coming through Kingston on Friday, November 20th... Its all very exciting but it just that much more exciting because there is no school for the students and they will be able to line the streets of our little village to cheer the flame on!

With all the "Flame" talk around town, I am thinking about my own experience with the Olympic Torch Relay. I am so excited to share the whole story with anyone who wants to read about it. It was a pretty accomplishment for Canada... and I totally enjoyed my little 1km part in the whole thing.

For me, it all began in January of 1987, when I was a young mom of a newborn and a 2.5 year old. We received in the mail, a brochure.. like any junk mail flyer, the announcement that the Torch Relay was going to go across Canada starting on Nov 17, and that every kilometer it traveled would be carried by ordinary Canadians. If you wanted to participate in the Torch Relay, all you had to do was fill out a ballot at any Petro Canada gas station. Hummm... what a cool idea. That was it. Just a fun thought. But over the next few days, it stewed in my head for a few days and then I went to Petro Canada and picked up a ballot.

When I shared this idea with Terry's grandparents who lived not far from us, Terry's
grandfather Archie (see Remembrance Day Blog) said he would pick one up for me on his walk each day. Well, it couldn't hurt to have a few ballots I thought. So, Archie picked up 6 each day, because he walked to three Petro Canadas each day. On the ballot, you had to chose what day you wanted to run, and after looking at all the days that were near me... I chose Day 31 (Ottawa), Day 32 Kingston and Day 33 Trenton.

In the end, I think I had a total of 535 ballots entered by the end of February thanks to Papa Archie and his winter walks. I was sure that was the most ballots that any one person could possibly put in. Later on, I would find out that some people had thousands of ballots.

In May I received a letter from WATTS, a Contest company of some sort saying that they were a judging organization and that I had been selected but I had to fill out forms and sent them back by a certain date before being

considered a winner... can you imagine!! I only remember reading the letter and wondering what the heck this meant. I filled out the papers and mailed them back immediately and then waited each day for a letter. Let me remind you.. this was well before emails existed. When it came, it was a form letter stating that I was indeed a torchbearer for Day 32. There would be 106 runners on that day and it was between Brockville and Millhaven.

Let me explain about this particular Torch Relay. Never before had there been a relay like this. First it was the longest relay, coldest and most complex ever staged. For the first time, an entire country had been given the opportunity to participate. It would take 88 days, 18,000 km and 7000 people will carry the torch. The brochure said that the torch would be as close as a 2 hour drive from every Canadian to come and see. The USA had a torch relay but only athletes or the famous were invited to carry it.

In the next few days, I am going to share with you the whole event. An amazing event. I have downloaded a couple of videos... a commercial, a news broadcast and of course... me... about 1.5 minutes of my run. Its too much for one blog. So, stay tuned ...


GailM. said...

I'm so excited to read more. I was so proud of you for doing this at the time. I'm preparing to cry when I see the video again. I don't remember the commercials so that would be interresting.

Anonymous said...

Aaarrrrghhh! Donna the suspense is killing me! I haven't watched the video probably since the early '90's and when Michelle talked about watching it recently, I REALLY WANTED TO SEE IT. So glad I got to share in your special day... I'm getting all weepy again. :) KofO