Pemberton torch runners ‘stoked’, ‘honoured’ 

Whistler isn't the only Sea to Sky community that'll see the Olympic torch relay burn through town. The flame will wend its way from Whistler through Pemberton and Mount Currie on Feb. 6.

It's only too appropriate that Pemberton teenager William Wiltse has been chosen as a torchbearer. The Grade 11 student at Pemberton Secondary is one of numerous Spud Valley residents who have been chosen to carry the flame.

Wiltse, 15, is an avid paddler who's been coached by Hugh Fisher, an Olympic gold medalist in kayaking who now serves as a mentor for young people in Pemberton. Fisher's coaching helped bring himto the 2008 Outrigger World Championships. In February Wiltse will get his own taste of Olympic glory and he said he's pumped at the chance to run with the torch.

"I'm so stoked for it, it's going to be awesome," Wiltse said. "I thought it would just be a great experience just overall if I got picked. I really wasn't expecting to get picked."

Wiltse may find himself passing the torch to Mark Blundell, owner of the Pemberton Valley Supermarket and another Spud Valley resident chosen to carry the flame. Blundell, a former councillor with the Village of Pemberton, said he's "very honoured" to be named a torch-bearer.

"I feel very, very honoured, quite honestly, and a bit humbled," he said. "I just hope I'm going to be able to do it because I am on crutches right now."

In the summer of 2008, Blundell had an accident on an all-terrain vehicle that hurt one of his knees and left him hobbled for months. He has since recovered but recently went in for surgery. He's walking fine but he hopes he can be in good condition in time for the torch run.

"When I had the accident a year and a half ago, I had to have another operation after that one kind of fixed itself," he said. "The knee needed more work, so I had to wait a year and a half and they fixed it so I won't have a limp off of crutches."

Both runners have received confirmations they'll carry the torch but they have yet to find out where they'll be running. Each will carry the flame for anywhere between 300 and 500 metres.

 

 

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