Carrying the torch for many 

Kristmanson, Smythe, Forseth, Blok among corridor residents who will be part of Olympic torch relay

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For recently retired Hugh Smythe, former president of mountain operations for Intrawest, and one of those who pushed for the Olympics to come to Whistler in the 1960s, the chance to carry the torch is like the closure of a life long ambition.

"In doing this I feel very privileged and blessed to have this opportunity to represent the company and Whistler," he said.

"It is going to be spectacular. It is so exciting and this is just more than the icing on the cake for me, it is just right over the top."

Smythe will carry the torch Feb. 10 in North Vancouver, just two days before it travels into B.C. Place stadium where it will be used to light the Olympic cauldron. Feb.12.

Intrawest colleague Doug Forseth will be carrying the torch in Mont Tremblant, Quebec.

"My torch was lit when I was 10 or 11 years old and I was watching the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley," said Forseth.

"Every time something was on TV and I wasn't at school I was glued to the television set. It has been a fascination for me for a long time."

Forseth is Whistler Blackcomb's point man on the Games.

"I am very, very excited," he said of carrying the torch.

"This is a symbol of the Olympics in so many ways. I have been working very closely on this for almost 10 years and I have had a lot of great Olympic experiences, but I think this will be the crowning memory of all those experiences."

Both Forseth and Smythe were awarded their places by Intrawest, which secured spots through their partnership with the Vancouver 2010 Organizing Committee.

Longtime Whistler resident John Blok and Squamish resident Jon Rees were chosen by RBC, which partnered with Coca-Cola to put on the relay.

"The running part is not the big deal, but having done it and having the story to tell is the big deal," said Blok, an endurance athlete and trainer.

He along with the others all plan to buy the torch they carry as a memento. Torchbearers may buy the torch they carry for $349.

"I think it is a big deal, especially for the grandkids, and I think owning the torch will be great as we can pass that on from generation to generation," said Blok.

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