Saturday, January 30, 2010

Brenda Chinn Carries the Torch in Northern B.C.

Brenda Chinn and I attended the same high school (Eric Hamber) a "while" ago. Today she was carrying the torch in Burns Lake. Here are some screenshots of her run:

Here's Brenda's recap of her great day:

Thank you to everyone for all of your well wishes. Having the opportunity to be a torchbearer and carry the Olympic flame was an INCREDIBLE experience. Here is a quick synopsis:

Four of my friends from Smithers (more about them later) drove me the 1.5 hours to Burns Lake. They dropped me off to find my meeting location. There were only two of us runners prior to the midday Community Celebration (2 of these per day: midday and evening). Which first of all made finding the meeting spot even harder as I was only looking for 1 other person. The information sent to both of us said “Recreation Centre at Spirit Square” but the only significant building at Spirit Square was a hockey arena so I went in there through a door marked “Performers Only”. I thought it was fitting. I found Matt (the other torchbearer) and we hung out there waiting for the organizers to show up who were probably still driving down the highway. A few of those who were to run after the Community Celebration were also milling about.

We got to the bus that is supposed to drive us to our run start destination. For those who have already run, you know that there is a lot of camaraderie and fun on the bus as people get dropped off and picked up along the run. Well.... there were just 2 of us plus the driver and “handler” so we whooped it up as much as possible. I laughed that Matt was even on the bus as I think he ended up running further than we needed to drive him.

As I was the 1st runner in the community I had to wait for lantern and flame keeper to light my torch which is why you would have seen a lot of standing around. Lighting from the actual lantern was pretty cool as the flame keeper puts a stick (I am sure there is a proper name for the thing) into the lantern and the people around me were trying to serve as a wind block. After they light my torch, there is the requisite ... Woo Hoo look at me!

I started to run but the trucks all stopped so I started to walk as I was only about 20 feet from the camera truck. Then we got going. The end of my run/shuffle it was a slight downhill and I can hear someone running with me say “Don’t light his torch yet”. With the timing of Matt to run into the Celebration, we were too early so there was a lot of dead time so I waved my friends from Smithers over and not knowing when they would say let’s go, I started urging them to hurry up. Normally you get hauled off to the side as soon as you are done and they extinguish your torch asap. So after the photo op and a little more waiting, we did the touching of the torches and passing of the flame.

A couple of my cousins videotaped the internet feed and have uploaded it to YouTube. Please turn down the audio as all you will hear are one of my cousins talking to her sister on the phone and her daughter talking to my aunt. As you will see, I got well over 6 minutes of internet time!

My friends Teresa and Matt Monkman were with me and taped this (edited version) so you can actually see the caravan of vehicles that go with you and the start and end of my run:

Thanks to them as well as Anita and Ruth for coming with me to Burns Lake and capturing tons of photos. I will get to these soon but I am currently working 9am to 9pm with my fellow NOC Assistants trying to get our area of the Athlete’s Village in Vancouver ready for Team Canada athletes and coaches who start arriving Feb 4th.

My flight home was a riot as our plane of ~50 passengers had at least 7 torchbearers (Olympians: Carol Huynh and Thelma Wright), some of their families and friends (for those who know her: Nadia M’Saffar was there as her boyfriend ran in Smithers), a couple of VANOC torch relay staff, provincial government staff and the provincial minister for the Olympics Mary McNeill.

Anyways ... I have to get going to my voly gig. I have a FANTASTIC time and it was truly an experience of a lifetime! Thanks again to my Smithers entourage for taking care of me and my cousins Lisa and Corrine for the video feed.


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