Sunday, January 31, 2010

Olympic Flame Lives On, Long After Leaving Ontario

When I started planning this trip back in Fall 2008, I knew in my heart that the people I was going to meet through this experience were going to be the highlight.  With a few weeks to go before our amazing Vancouver 2010 Olympics begin, I have had the pleasure of meeting wonderful people from all over the world. When people leave comments on my blog, they are available for all of you to see.  What you don't see are all the emails, Facebook messages and text messages I get from friends directly. I encourage them to go back to my blog and post as comments because the things they say are really beautiful and inspiring to me. Usually they don't and I keep all of their messages to read them again.  When you get so much encouragement and feedback from those around you, it makes it easier to keep up with doing all of this blogging!
All of that is a very long intro to an email I got this week from Cindy Legare. Cindy was a Torch Bearer in Oshawa, ON on December 16th. She came across my blog while searching for some material to use in a presentation. I loved her email so much I asked if she would mind if I used it as a blog post. She didn't mind in the least and I am publishing the email in full that she sent to me on January 28th. 
I am publishing it because it is a great reminder of how this Olympic experience will live on long after the Flame is extinguished in Vancouver, long after the Torch Relay has been completed and long after the athletes have won their medals and travel back to their home countries.  It is an example of how the children of today, our next generation of Olympic athletes are going to be inspired by these events and by the actions of people like Cindy.  I think it is such a special honour to be a role model to children. Cindy is lucky to have that honour and it sounds like she is making the most of it, and loving it!

Hi Christina,
Good on ya!!!!! I love what you are doing - I wish I could be doing this with you - I so wish I could be in Vancouver for it (I was there in Sept 09 though and got to see all the messy construction they were doing and see the 'before' places)!!!! I love the Olympics (my dream was to be a soccer player in the Olympics - but they were too late making that an olympic sport so I missed my chance) so the next best thing.....I was a torchbearer. I was honoured to do this in Oshawa on Dec16 and since then I've been treated like a 'celebrity' visiting many schools, classes, senior centres, women's groups, Brownies, a library reading group, the list goes on. Why keep my torch locked up in a box where as I can share it with many other people so that can feel apart of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic history!

I'm volunteering my time to go talk to these people about the olympics history and info about the 2010, my experience as a torch bearer and then I let everyone hold the torch individually and I have my camera and get a picture of them and give it to them.I'm filled up right until March doing talks...all volunteer so I'm not profitting from this (I have my own business so I kinda put that on hold - we make sunprotective and other unique clothing/accessories - which we'll be getting busy with soon). Its so funny seeing peoples reaction to me and the torch and especially when I ask them if they'd like to hold it - wow, their facial expression is priceless!!!! I've even had two classrooms of students line up and ask me for my autograph - how funny is that....I've never signed messages and my name this much at one time in my life.

Anyway, I came across your blog because I'm putting together a power-point slide show for a couple schools where I talk to about 700 students each and I was searching for photos...and up popped you!!!! I will now keep reading your diary blogs and this way you are filling me in on what I'm unfortunately missing. If you need me to do anything for your blog then I'd be happy to help out and fill in any empty spaces (if that is possible) on your diary...

Keep blogging - Go Christina Go!!!!

After that email she sent another one to me describing what was going to happen during one of her talks at a school. I thought this was so cool and I have included the excerpt below. Wish things like this had happened at my school!

I'm doing a talk this Monday at a school in Oshawa and it sounds pretty cool how we are doing it. I'm leading a group of children in the gym (me holding the torch and in uniform - they were chosen from a random name draw in each class) and we'll be doing a figure 8 around everyone who is seated then go to the stage. The coke, Open Happiness song, will be playing while we are parading around. Then by the stage, kids will each say a word of two about what the Olympics means to them. Then I will have a power-point slide show showing how the flame got lit in Greece to where it arrives in Vancouver and I'll talk about the torch design, logo, other olympic facts, who other than myself carried the torch (they'll go crazy when I say 'Sidney Crosby'), my experience, my uniform design and how my mitts differ from their 'red knitted mitts'. Then after the talk, I will be going to each class room to let all 600 students hold my torch and then get their picture taken with it.....its an all day event!

When I started my blog, it was meant to be a diary of my adventures leading up to and at the Vancouver Olympics. I have since come to realize that it is not only my story.  The people that I am coming into contact with all have stories too.  They may not be making the trip out to Vancouver, but the Olympics is having an impact on their lives that is worth telling. I am thrilled to be able to share their stories with you. I am going to try to make it out to one of Cindy's talks when I am back from Vancouver.
If you were a Torch Bearer I would love to hear if you are having experiences similar to Cindy's. Please leave a comment and share with all of us what has been happening to you since you carried the Olympic Torch.
Cindy gives a presentation to high school students in Whitby, ON.

The woman holding the Torch in this photo was sending a copy of this to her brother in Afganistan.  Cindy with a women's sorority group in Port Hope, ON.

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