Drumheller to hoist Olympic Torch | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 21 Jun 2024 5pm

Drumheller to hoist Olympic Torch

olympic-run.jpgDrumheller is in limited company, as it became one of less than 200 communities across Canada, where the Olympic torch will make a stop on its way to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Whistler, British Columbia.
    Last Friday, an excited Mayor Bryce Nimmo and Economic Development officer Ray Telford delivered the word that Drumheller would be an official stop on the Olympic Torch Relay.  Drumheller Town Councillor Don Guidolin was also at the announcement as well as invited community stakeholders.
    “Just over two hours ago, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee finalized the Olympic Torch Relay Route,” said a beaming Nimmo on Friday afternoon at Town Hall. “It gives me great pleasure to announce the Olympic Torch for the 2010 Olympics will make a stop in Drumheller.” 
    “Not only will it pass through our community, but there is a program that will take place on the day it arrives."
    On January 16, 2010, Drumheller will be an “Olympic Community for a Day.” There will be a two-hour program, with a 30-minute official segment provided by the Vancouver Organizing Committee. Each community is asked to present their own community flavour.
    The next step will be setting up an Olympic celebration committee, made up of people from the surrounding community to plan the event.
    “We’ll have our own unique opportunity to show what our community is and stands for,” said Nimmo. “We’re very happy to make this announcement, and I know a number of you sitting here will be involved, and will be very proud.”
    He says the Town of Drumheller has a wealth of talent, which can be tapped to make the event a success.
    Nimmo said the community was approached in May about the possibility of hosting the event. Drumheller was one of the first asked. They found out just days prior to Friday’s announcement the town is to be one of the communities.
    This is the longest torch relay in the history of the Olympics, and it starts October 30, 2009. It will travel 45,000 kilometres across Canada, with 12,000 people carrying the torch.Nimmo says the torch will be within a one-hour drive from 90 per cent of the population of Canada. The route will see the torch wind south through Red Deer and Olds, then Three Hills towards Drumheller on January 16, where there will be a reception. The torch will continue on a loop through southern Alberta, including Medicine Hat, Taber, Lethbridge and High River before heading to Calgary.   
    One of the biggest honours a Canadian can have is to carry the torch. The major sponsors of the relay, Coca Cola and RBC are the gatekeepers. Local residents can apply for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to carry the Olympic Flame at iCoke.ca or rbc.com/carrythetorch.ca.
 Coca-Cola and RBC, the relay’s presenting partners, have the exclusive rights for the public to enter the Olympic Torchbearer program and are looking for Canadian applicants who commit to live healthier or are inspired to create a stronger country by volunteering or making sustainable choices.
     While Lindsay Cunningham, daughter of Sandy and Joanne, was only seven years old during the Calgary 1988 Olympics, she remembers the day well. As the only Drumhellerite to carry the torch, she held the flame high (with a little help) on a small stretch near Airdrie. As a young girl some of the details that stick out in her mind are the big crowds, the weight of the torch and the ill-fitting tracksuit. She also remembers warming up in a motorhome with a chocolate bar. In retrospect she sees the gravity of how special the event was.
    "At the time I didn’t really get it, but my dad especially wanted me to do it,” she says. “It was so cool, and I am so glad I did it.”
    She says when they drive through Calgary they often stop at the base of Canada Olympic Park at the monument that names all of the torch run participants, and finds her name on the plaque.
    “It is something I am proud of, just to be able to be a part of it,” she said.   
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