2010 Olympic torch will stop in Whistler 

Route communities already planning how to take advantage of opportunity

click to enlarge Fire Run With Me Whistler and Squamish will host the Olympic torch overnight
  • Fire Run With Me Whistler and Squamish will host the Olympic torch overnight

Both Whistler and Squamish will get to keep the 2010 Winter Olympic torch relay flame overnight and celebrate the occasion.

And hundreds in the corridor will get the chance to carry the flame as it makes its way up from Horseshoe Bay on its way through Pemberton to Lillooet then down through Merritt before turning back toward the Lower Mainland and the lighting of the cauldron in B.C. Place Stadium on Feb. 12, 2010 — day 106 of the torch relay.

It is likely thousands of people in the area will sign up to carry the torch, including Crazy Canuck Steve Podborski.

“I definitely want to be a torch carrier in the corridor,” said Podborski, the first North American male to win an Olympic Medal in Downhill, capturing the bronze in 1980 at Lake Placid.

“I was lucky enough to carry the torch for the (Calgary) Games in ’88 and even if you haven’t been an Olympian this gives you a feeling for what that might be like and you can share in what the Olympic dream really is.

“You come to understand a bit better just what the Games could be.

“The Games are many things to many people and… by carrying the flame you are participating and it moves you into a whole new world, so it does change you and it does change what the Games mean to you.”

During his career Podborski established a virtually unmatched record of 44 top 10 places and 20 podium finishes out of 89 downhill races run. Add to that eight individual World Cup victories, and the record leaves him ranked as one of the best ever.

Although Whistler’s torch relay celebration is very much a work in progress there are some things we know for sure.

The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games will role into town with its travelling road stage and technicians to help Whistler throw a great party the day the flame is due to arrive, Feb. 5.

They will also bring with them a travelling cauldron to host the flame during the celebration. Whistler will not be allowed to keep any part of the flame, despite being the 2010 Mountain Host.

“One of the elements that the (International Olympic Committee) doesn’t allow us any flexibility on is that the community cauldron has to pack up and move with us throughout,” said Jim Richards, director of torch relays for VANOC.

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