Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A New Flame

3 days after the Olympic Games

It was only three days ago that the Olympic flame was extinguished, plunging Vancouver into a post-Olympic state of darkness. At 10:00am this morning, however, in our nation's Capital, a new spark was lit: the Paralympic Flame.

Over the next ten days, this new flame will journey across Canada, ending, finally, here in Vancouver on March 12, one month after the Olympic flame arrived. Although it will reach a smaller audience, even within the first day, representatives from each of the thirteen provinces and territories will have carried this torch, allowing the flame to symbolically reach their homes. Representing British Columbia today? Television personality Rick Mercer.

From Ottawa, the flame is scheduled to travel to Quebec City, Toronto, Esquimalt and Victoria, Squamish, Whistler, Lytton and Hope, Vancouver (Riley Park) and Maple Ridge, Vancouver (UBC), before entering BC Place for the Official Opening Ceremonies.

When the Olympic flame passed through Vancouver, I had no idea the impact it would make on me. I didn't realize the profound effect it would have - how it would symbolize, for me, the true beginning of my Olympic experience.

That being said, with the Paralympic torch fast approaching, I know enough to be excited. Rain or shine, I plan to be standing on a sidewalk sometime during it's 24-hour relay through Vancouver, cheering for the torch bearer and for our athletes, and embracing the Paralympic ideals of determination and perseverence.

Although similar to the Olympic torch, the Paralympic torch bears a unique inscription along its side, "Spark becomes flame." This metaphor is meant to represent the spark within each of us, that is capable of lighting our entire world. I realize that we've only been left in the darkness for three days, but already, I'm looking forward to the new light the Paralympic Games promise to cast over our city.

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