Torching the Bridge
Just after 4 p.m. last afternoon, the city of Lethbridge took its turn to host the Olympic flame, as the torch makes its way to Vancouver and they even found a way to accomplish a first.
In tune with what I’m told, when a group of city workers crossed the city’s 100-year-old high level train bridge in a specialized cart, carrying the flame, they were the first to ever do so. Anywhere.
I’m terrible at crowd estimations but a group of somewhere between 10,000 and more-than-that heard Lethbridge MP Rick Casson say the torch had never crossed a bridge before. I’m guessing he meant a train bridge but if that’s true it’s still pretty impressive.
After a couple of hours meandering through city streets, followed by an enormous amount of people at all times, the torch found its way to Jill Quirk, a former world-class swimmer, who was the final torchbearer. She then slowly took the flame through the crowd of thousands – clearly savouring every step – until she reached the stage and lit the cauldron.
The roar of the crowd could be heard for kilometres I’m sure (probably carried by the ridiculous wind in this town) and the entire atmosphere was simply intoxicating. I know I spend almost every second on this blog making fun of someone or something but yesterday deserves more than sarcasm.
Here is the video shot with my iPhone yesterday. The visuals are dark and sometimes worse than the Blair Witch Project for shakiness but when you see my cat-like reflexes and agility as I weaved through the crowd, holding the phone as high as I could, trying to keep up with Quirk as she approached the stage, you’ll be impressed! Ask anyone I know; the simple fact I didn’t face plant and throw my back out is astonishing. And you’ll be able to see and hear the kind of excitement the torch brought the people of Lethbirgde, which is all that mattered anyway:
There aren’t many times not involving a hockey game, where I have goosebumps from Canadian patriotism but yesterday was something special. Yesterday I saw every single walk of life come together as Canadians and I realized, no matter how little we show it each day on the outside, we are a pretty proud bunch and I believe the world will find out exactly what I mean come next month.
Injuries to key athletes recently have given me some concern for our final result but I am positive we will be in the running for the most medals. Never a gold on home soil before? That will change real quick this time round, I guarantee it.
I can’t wait to see Vancouver host the world. Don’t forget to follow Shmitzy Says throughout the Olympics, as I will be there to experience it all!