Olympic torch bearers ready to relay
The Journal Pioneer
Paul Crabbe’s advice to Summerside’s Olympic torch bearers is simple. Savour the moment.
The Crapaud resident speaks from experience - he ran with the torch in 1987 as a 17-year-old, for the 1988 Calgary Games, the last time the Olympics were held in Canada.
“I think there were something like six million applications to carry the torch in the country so I was fairly fortunate to be selected,” said Crabbe. “It was pure luck that your name was drawn. I can still remember everything I did that day.”
Five torch runners were recently selected to each run 300-metre legs through Summerside with the torch on its way to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Crabbe was the second-last runner on the Island before handing the torch off to a young boy who delivered the flame to the ferry MV Vacationland in Borden. The flame then travelled across the Northumberland Strait to New Brunswick.
This year, RBC and Coca-Cola accepted entries from people across the country, from which 12,000 Canadians were selected. John Bowser, Warren Ellis, Dave MacCormack, Brenda Benson and Robert Upshall were chosen for the relay through the Summerside area on Nov. 22. The torch will be on P.E.I. over three days, and will eventually make its way back to Vancouver by Feb. 12, 2010.
Since the responsibility of the Olympic torch will likely make the 300 metres fly by, the participants were deciding how they would drink in the moment.
“I’m probably going to walk the whole 300 metres,” Ellis said.
Ironically, Crabbe now works for one of this year’s relay sponsors, Coca-Cola, in Charlottetown. He even applied through his company and RBC to run with the torch this time around.
While at a young age he didn’t fully grasp the importance of bearing one of the most recognizable symbols of the Games, running with the torch left a lasting impression.
“At the time I really didn’t know what I was about to do, but it’s one of those things you remember for the rest of your life. You follow it across the country and then you think, ‘Wow, I had something to do with that. The runners should make sure they have lots of friends and family there with them and really cherish the moment.”