Saturday, November 14, 2009

Olympic flame on curling ice

From the last post, to the big reveal.

2006 Olympic champion Mike Adam, alternate for Brad Gushue’s victorious foursome and the young man who committed one of “the most selfless acts in sport history” became the first Canadian high-performance curler to carry the Vancouver 2010 torch... and the first-ever human to slide with it down a sheet of curling ice.

The Katie Greene photo above shows Adam alongside former Team Gushue Olympic coach and 1976 Brier champion, Toby MacDonald.

“It was awesome,” Adam told The Curling News.

“In spite of it being Friday the 13th I didn’t wipe out... and I didn’t set the club on fire, either.”

Adam was on the ice at the St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland and Labrador, the traditional home base of Team Gushue and many of the island’s top competitors, and accepted the torch from the previous bearer, 2007 Canadian junior champion curling skip Stacie Devereaux.

Adam then proceeded to slide halfway down the sheet of ice. Then, he did it again... nice and slowly, for the assembled media.

“I was thinking, if I slide past real fast to get to the other end, I’ll blow by the people that are lined up to see it, and they don't get a chance to see it that well,” said Adam.

“So I figured I’d go slowly, and give everyone the real gist of it, show the symbolism.”

Adam enjoyed the technical term VANOC organizers gave to this particular segment of the torch’s unprecedented 45,000 km journey, which will visit 1,000 Canadian communities.

“They call it an ‘Alternative Mode of Transportation,’” Adam chuckled.

Adam was one of 160 torchbearers who carried the flame more than 110 kilometres across Newfoundland on Friday.

On a day when his Olympic teammates with Team Gushue were officially eliminated in the race to defend their championship in Vancouver, thousands of miles away in Prince George, British Columbia, Adam spoke poignantly about his return to the club.

“It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been back here,” said Adam, who now lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

“It would have been great to have everybody back here for this, but the boys had to be out west.

“I give the organizers full marks for including curling, and our team, in this amazing journey.”

There’s more from Adam and his big Friday in today’s edition of the St. John’s Telegram.

Later today, Alberta front-end curling legend Don Bartlett runs with the torch, in his original hometown of Gander, Newfoundland.

Other Olympic curlers slated to carry the torch are Russ Howard (Moncton, Nov. 29), Don Walchuk (Moose Jaw, Sask. on Jan. 10), alternate Ken Tralnberg (Hague, Sask. on Jan. 11), Marcie Gudereit (Lloydminster, Sask. on Jan. 12), alternate Sandra Jenkins (Salmon Arm, B.C. on Jan. 27) and Georgina Wheatcroft, who will bear the flame at Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 5.

The full list of 300 Canadian Olympians who will act as torch bearers can be seen here.

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