The Olympic Torch Relay is a symbol of peace, enlightenment and brotherhood. Torch and relay races were very important parts of the cultural festivities surrounding the Games. These events had deep ritual significance, which is still respected in the Olympic Torch Relay today. The first ever Olmypic Torch Relay was at the 1936 Berlin Summer Games, but the first Winter Games Torch Relay occurred in 1952 in Oslo, Norway. Since then, the Torch Relay has been a huge part of the Games, and each relay reflects the hosting country's culture.
The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch was initially lit in Olympia Greece on October 22, 2010, but the actual Torch Relay began on October 30th in Victoria, British Columbia. From Victoria, ir went out to Eastern Canada and is now making it's way back to the West Coast. Today is day 73 of the relay, and today the torch traveled from Regina to Swift Current, Saskatchewan. The torch travels approximetaly 300 km every day. So far the torch has travelled over 33 000km, visited about 800 communities and had 8 300 torchbearers. Before the torch reaches its final destination of Vancouver, 12 000 people will have had the opportunity to carry the torch, 1000 communities will have cheered it on as it passed by, and it will have traveled 45 000km, coast to coast along this beautiful country. The torch relay organizers have put in so much effort to make this relay special, and unique from any other torch relay. They have got creative and came up with 100 different ways that the torch will be traveling; some examples include dogsled, chuckwagon, bike, plane, tomato harvester, snowboard, rollerblades, boat, wheelchair, horseback, fire truck, surf board, streetcar, crutches and my personal favourite, Zamboni. We are Canadian! I am proud to say that this is the longest domestic Torch Relay in Olympic history!
Olympic Athlete of the Day: Matthew Morison is a 22-year-old snowboarder from Burketon, Ont. His specialty event is the men’s parallel giant slalom. Morison has been on the World Cup circuit for 4 years now, his first World Cup was in 2007 and since then he has made 10 podium finishes. Matthew has never competed in the Olympic Games before, but when asked about it, this is what he had to say, "It's something I think about every day. It's a huge event. To get a gold medal there can change your life. That was always the dream as a kid. I want to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Everybody does. Obviously I know now how much work it's going to take.” Just last week Morison won gold at the Parallel Giant Slalom event in Colorado, but unfortunately during his qualifying runs he crashed into a net and fractured his elbow. The young Canadian will still be able to compete at the Olympic Games, but will need 4 to 6 weeks of rest, which will really hurt his training.
Paralympic Athlete of the Day: Brian McKeever is a legally blind 31 year old from Canmore, Alberta. Brian started cross country skiing at the age of 3, and loved it. What he enjoys most about skiing is the adrenaline rush he receives when competing. Tragically at age 19, Brian was diagnosed with Stargaard’s disease (loss of central vision). Since then McKeever has not let this tragedy affect him, he has been competing in the blind skier category. Not only does he cross-country ski, but he also competes in Biathalon. The Albertan Skier has competed in two Paralympic Games, 2002 Salt Lake City and 2006 Torino. However, last year Brian became the first athlete with a disability to ski in an able-bodied race. McKeever’s goal is to become the first disabled athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Brian's vision guide is his older brother Robin McKeever.