Bearing the torch for the Olympics
When the Olympic Flame arrives in Grand Forks on Jan. 24, it will be proudly carried by Jock Mackay, nominated as the community torchbearer to light the celebration cauldron for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.
Jock Mackay is an athletic senior who carries a much bigger torch on behalf of his hometown having moved to Grand Forks originally to open a ski shop after developing a love for the sport from his earlier years in Scotland. Jock and his family preferring wide-open spaces discovered Phoenix Mountain ski area and the rest is history. Today the Phoenix Cross Country Ski Club, in which Jock plays a major volunteer role, has built and maintained a network of trails along with an A-frame structure for shelter known as the dacha. Jock’s strong commitment and hard work for the betterment and promotion of outdoor recreational sports in the community has earned him the prestigious opportunity to carry the Olympic flame on behalf of the citizens of Grand Forks.
“We’re pleased to announce Jock Mackay as Grand Forks’ torchbearer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games,” said Mayor Taylor. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jock, who is one of 12,000 Canadians chosen to carry the Olympic Flame on the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history! On Jan. 24th, we want everyone in our community to join together with other Canadians and show the world how inspired we feel by the Olympic Flame and its message of peace, brotherhood and friendship.”
To celebrate the arrival of the flame, the community is planning a celebration at city park from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. including entertainment provided by The Sopranos & Co. choir under the direction of Joan Thompson, Irish and Folklore dancers from the Granby Dance Studio, Les Folles Jambettes CanCan dancers, USCC Doukhobor Choir, authentic Borscht prepared and served by the USCC Doukhobor ladies, the Grand Forks Pipes & Drums.
The day before the torch arrives, a snow sculpture contest will be held. The contest, organized by Les Johnson of www.whatsupingrandforks.com, is open to anyone interested in creating a snowy work of art. Johnson said that he expects up to 21 teams in the contest that takes place in city park on Saturday, Jan. 23. Anyone interested in doing a sculpture or volunteering to help organizing the contest can contact Johnson through the contest’s webpage www.whatsupingrandforks.com. Johnson is lining up a few judges and the small organizing committee is busy working out all the details. The webpage includes some information links on how to make a sculpture as well as links to other contests. There will be warming areas and hot chocolate for all the participants throughout the contest time.
“I was worried that there wasn’t going to be enough snow, but at the organizing meeting the Emcon representative volunteered truckloads of snow,” said Johnson. “The judging will be on the Saturday so that it doesn’t interfere with the two hours of crammed in entertainment when the torch is here. The entry fee will be $25 and all the entry fees will be going into the kitty for prizes – so it is a prize-winning event!”
Midway through the two-hour celebration program, Jock will carry the Olympic Torch on its final 300 metres to the stage where he will light the 1.3-metre high celebration cauldron, in a move similar to the dramatic highlight of what will occur during the Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
The 106-day Olympic Torch Relay, which is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada, will visit more than 1,030 communities and places of interest in every province and territory. On February 12, 2010, the Olympic Flame will make its way to downtown Vancouver to light the Olympic Cauldron in a magical and awe-inspiring moment before a television audience of three billion people worldwide, signalling the kick off to the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
For more information on the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay, visit www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.
For more information on your local community OTR celebration contact:
Cher Wyers, Grand Forks Spirit of BC Community Committee Volunteer Chair