What a night! Revelstoke celebrates the Olympic Torch Relay
By Karen McColl and David F. Rooney
Revelstoke’s Olympic Torch Relay festivities were a celebration to be proud of.
Organizers had hoped at least 2,000 people would attend the party downtown. They were ecstatic when a human sea of 4,000 men, women and children literally jammed Mackenzie Avenue
“It totally exceeded expectations,” said Neills Kristensen, Torch Relay Committee member and executive director of the Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier.
Activities got underway at 4 pm with booths and merchandise set up by the Revelstoke Skating Club, the Nordic Club, Friends of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier, Parks Canada, official Torch Relay sponsors Coca Cola and the Royal Bank and more.
The Parks Canada booth, shared with the Revelstoke Museum, was particularly lively and offered opportunities to pose as ski jumpers, mingle with the historical characters of Nels Nelson and Isabel Coursier, and learn about the history of ski jumping at Mount Revelstoke.
Of course the highlight of the evening was the torch relay itself, and especially the final leg, when former Olympian John McInnes handed the torch to young Lachlan Hicks. The teenager carried the torch between two lines of hand-painted paper lanters borne by children along the final 300 metres of roadway to the stage at Mackenzie and Second Street where he lit the Olympic Cauldron to applause and cheers.
Hicks was very excited but never lost his composure even when he was paraded in front of the news media.
“I just hope this will inspire other young people,” he said.
While Hicks had been selected months ago to be the final torch bearer, two-time former Olympian John McInnes, North Columbia Environmental Society President Sarah Newton, and high school student Brittany Evans only found out late Tuesday afternoon that they would be taking part in the relay.
Evans’ mom interrupted her at basketball practice to give her the exciting news.
“It was fantastic,” she said after the event. “I couldn’t keep the smile off my face. I’m never going to forget that moment.”
The evening was also lit up by lively performances given on the main stage by the Revelstoke Community choir and later by the local music group Sister Girl.
A short yet spectacular firework show at 8 pm drew the official fun and festivities to a close, although many people repaired to local restaurants and bars for a bite to eat and drink.
The torch relay continues west Wednesday morning.
Video of the event will be posted on The Current. In the meantime here are images of the event, from start to finish: