I Believe – Part 1

Over 100 days ago, the sacred Olympic Flame was lit in an ancient ritual in Olympia, Greece. The flame was then run to Athens, where it was handed over to a representative from Canada. After a quick trans-Atlantic flight the flame, the symbol of peace, brotherhood & friendship, arrived in Canada.

The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay began.

You may wonder why this Torch Relay is so different.  It is the longest Torch Relay to take place in a single country (lasting over 100 days & travelling over 45,000 kilometres). In addition, the Torch has travelled within a one hour drive of 90% of our population and has travelled via land, water and air and using many modes of transportation.

We were lucky enough to be within a five minutes of two of the Torch Routes (on two separate days over a week apart) and we were lucky enough to see three modes of transportation & six Torch bearers.

At home, we took our son out of school to see this once in a lifetime event. Our hearts beat faster as we heard a helicopter hover overhead. (To think this flame came from Olympia!) Luckily we were positioned at a relay point. And we were surprised that each Torch bearer had their own Torch… so it really wasn’t a relay like the track and field relays from our youth. Everyone was screaming & yelling long before the Torch bearer was near. The excitement kept building until we saw the Torch bearer come over the crest of the hill. People cheered and waved flags and some were in tears they were so emotional.

In Collingwood, at Blue Mountain, we had a similar but different experience. It was a bitterly cold day, but we went out to see our friend Neil, who was running at position #38. Lucky for us, Neil’s relay point was THE PLACE to be: as it was at the bottom of a ski run and we would have the opportunity to see four Torch bearers: a runner would run the flame in, a para-skier would ski halfway down the hill to light the Torch of a snowboarder who would ride down the rest of the hill and light Neil’s Torch.  The crowds lined the hill and followed the flame down. Everyone cheered Neil and the other Torch bearers. We all felt very proud to be Canadian… and proud to be a part of such a historic event.

Neil at Blue Mountain

As a planner and project manager, I was blown away with the amazing planning, organization and sheer magnitude of the logistics of just the Torch Relay. (Imagine running the Olympic Games!)

The Torch Relay built the excitement of The Vancouver Olympic Games throughout Canada. The organizers made it a tremendous experience for the country: it touched our hearts and souls, it lit our pride and our spirit and it brought us together in peace as brothers. Many thanks go to RBC, Coca-cola and the countless volunteers that made this possible.

I believe…  anything is possible.

For more pictures of the Olympic Torch and Torch Relay, please visit me on Facebook.