Goodbye to the Olympic Torch

By David F. Rooney

People were whooping it up after Tuesday’s grand Olympic Torch Relay Celebration when Neills Kristensen answered his phone at 9:45 pm for a call he never thought he’d receive: “How would you like to carry the Torch on Wednesday morning?”

“I was so excited I called the Maritimes and told my family,” he said over breakfast in the dining room at Powder Springs after his moment of glory on Wednesday morning. “My dad was like: ‘I don’t believe you! At this moment I really don’t believe you!'”

But it was true and Kristensen now has the uniform and the Torch to prove it — something he did again and again and again and again as complete strangers asked if he would pose for pictures.

He was one of the last three Revelstokians to carry the Torch in town. The other two were fast friends and running buddies Lynne Welock and Annie Woodhurst.

“This was such a grand moment,” Welock said. “I felt a real sense of accomplishment inside me.”

The two whooped with excitement as they posed for photos while the train carrying the Olympic flame dwindled into the distance, bound fro Craigallechie, Malakwa, Salmon Arm and other towns on the road to Vancouver 2010.

Here are images from the Torch’s last moments in town:

Flanked by security, Olympic Torchbearer Bal Parmjit of Calgary carries the Olympic Torch to a special CPR passenger train at the Railway Museum early Wednesday morning. David F. Rooney photo
Torchbearer Bal Parmjit of Calgary boards the train at the Railway Museum. David F. Rooney photo
Torchbearer Bal Parmjit of Calgary lights a cauldron on the rear platform of train's last car. David F. Rooney photo
Fast friends Lynne Welock and Annie Woodhurst whoop with delight at the conclusion of their runs with the Olympic Torch on Wednesday morning. David F. Rooney photo
Welock and Woodhurst pose with fellow Torchbearer Neills Kristensen. Kristensen had applied months and months ago for a chance to carry the torch but didn't make the cut until late Tuesday evening when he received a phone call elling him that a last minute drop-out by a non-local torchbearer had given him the opportunity he never thought he would have. David F. Rooney photo