Carrying Olympic torch, a memory to cherish

Ann English carried torch outside Kamloops.

Ann English wasn’t quite sure how it would feel when it came time for her stretch of the 100-day, 45,000-kilometre Olympic Torch relay.

But organizers who have shepherded the flame from coast to coast to coast took care of all that.

The two-hour pre-orientation, in which those on the torch relay got to know each other, and the bus ride during which everyone clapped and cheered as each runner was dropped off at their stop, and the sight of the torch coming down the highway toward her, ensured the event is one she’ll always treasure.

As the Maple Ridge resident ran westward on her stretch outside Kamloops last week, she thought of how her few strides were bringing the Olympic flame 300 metres closer to the cauldron in B.C. Place for the Feb. 12 opening ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

“Then you blink, and then it’s done.

“For me, I was left with this amazing feeling.”

Afterwards, even with the flame extinguished, people still wanted to touch the torch, even the soot left over from the flame.

“I had not expected that, that people would be that emotional about the flame.

“It was remarkable the impact it had when people got close to the torch.”

English did the same as Pitt Meadows student Kyle McLellan, who carried the torch in Ontario: she paid $350 so she could take her torch home. McLellan is chair of the task force that’s bringing the torch through Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on Feb. 8.

English, who’s B.C. Hydro’s director of Olympic initiative, obviously supports the run, mainly because of the environmental progress being made at the 2010 Games.

“I think the Olympics can be an agent of change. I believe it’s a good thing.”

The 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games will use only 150 portable diesel generators compared to a normal complement of 650 generators used during previous Games.

Ninety per cent of the power used during the Games will come from B.C. Hydro’s renewable power grid from its B.C. reservoirs and turbines, she pointed out.

“What really resonates for me is that they’re trying to promote sustainability and make it a green Games.”