Today the Pan Am/Parapan Am Torch Relay marched through the Town of Gravenhurst. After more than 50,000 km travelled and only 5,000 km to go before the Flame lights up the cauldron in Toronto. Along the way the Flame has touched the hearts and inspired the minds of millions. The Torch Relay is a symbol representing the spirit of sportsmanship and competition, but like most symbolic gestures they affect different people in different ways.
To me the Torch Relay represents the communities' ability to support a movement. When a group comes together they can accomplish anything like carrying a flame by foot across a country. More than just the passion and determination of the athletes, I believe the Flame shows everyone's excitement and support towards the athletes.
When I was competing and found myself struggling to find the energy to compete, I only had to look up to my family, friends and fans to be lifted up beyond my potential, and achieve something great. Many athletes get this energy from within, but I also believe that the support from outside takes them beyond that. That is the symbol of the Torch Relay. To me, the Torch Relay is the culmination of all the fans' hearts and encouragement that have come together to support their favourite country, sport or athlete.
This morning before the Cauldron Lighting Ceremony at the Gravenhurst Wharf, I was given the opportunity to present to a group of students at the Gravenhurst Public School about being an athlete and what it means to represent your home. I could see from their responses that they were excited by my accomplishments, but also inspired by the amount of support I have received throughout my career and still receive to this day.
It was an amazing and inspiring day today.
What does the Torch Relay mean to you?