by Alicia Pawluk, Grade 12 rower
Last Friday, I had the incredible fortune to partake in a most historic event. October 30, 2009 was certainly a day that I will always remember for its excitement, its thrill, and its emotion. Before the sun had risen, I was sitting in CBC’s makeshift studio on the grounds of the legislature. As the crowds grew steadily, the anticipation climbed to a boiling point.
Today was the first day of the Vancouver 2010 Torch Relay.
At 3:00pm sharp, I arrived at the Braefoot parking lot. There I was checked in, received my torch, and took a few group pictures with the other torchbearers in my section. All too soon, it was 4:00pm and we boarded our mini-bus to take the first runner to their starting point. On the way, we shared stories of our past, our hopes, our future and most importantly, what running the Olympic Flame meant to us. I was in awe of the incredible amount of talent on just that small section of the relay. We had a national volleyball player, a paralympic skier, former Olympians, cancer survivors and future Olympic athletes to name a few. As everyone told their stories there were many tears shed, it was a very emotional time.
At about 4:45pm I was let off the bus at my start point, number 093. After waiting what seemed to be an eternity, I saw the previous torchbearer running down the road towards me. He passed the flame (known in Olympic circles as “the kissing of the flame”), and I turned to face the road ahead of me. The road was lined with people, from school children screaming “Oh Canada” to those that had already seen more than one Olympics in our country. Flaming brightly, the torch roared loudly as I ran (actually, it was more of a sprint – they were running behind schedule). The run itself was amazing; it was the first time that I had felt part of something that immense. For those few short minutes, the spirit of the Olympics was in my hands.
As I struggle vainly to find the words to explain how I felt, I realize that I can merely scrape at the surface of how extraordinary it was. Instead, I will let you know that the torch is quite heavy (so much that I grasped it with two hands about half way through), that my toque slid off (but I managed to grab it in time) and that I was completely struck by the huge crowd that came out to watch.
It was certainly a very proud moment for our city, our province, and our country and I was honoured to be a part of it.
With red mittens and a glowing heart,