It's not that I have anything against Wayne Gretzky, I know he was one of the greatest hockey players ever but I agree with Neate Sager that he is not the one to carry the torch on it's final leg and light the Cauldron in Vancouver to open the Games. He is/was a professional athelete and I still have a problem with professionals being allowed to participate in the games. Is it really the Olympic ideal to have overpaid hockey or basketball stars taking part in something that was meant to be for amateurs? I know, it is supposed to be the best in their fields but putting multi millionaires in with men and women who choose to live barely above the poverty line in some cases so that they can pursue their passion is absurd, it demeans the Games for everyone.
Neate Sager has proposed that Betty Fox, the mother of Terry Fox carry the flame up to the cauldron. Terry ran a marathon a day on an artificial leg to raise money and awareness of cancer back in 1980. Twenty-six miles every day, rain or shine from Newfoundland on Canada's Atlantic coast to his hometown of Vancouver on the Pacific. He made it 3,339 miles when his cancer returned and he had to give up in Thunder Bay, Ontario. He died on June 28th 1981. He wasn't paid to run, he didn't have sponsors backing him. His support team consisted of his brother and a friend driving a van behind him collecting money from people along the highway. His goal was initially to raise $1,000,000 but by the time he reached Ontario he decided to make it $1 for every Canadian, 24 million in 1980. Although he didn't live to see that goal reached his legacy of the Terry Fox Foundation and the runs participated in by almost every school child in Canada and around the world every September have raised over $400 million to date.
I saw Terry run past on the highway near our farm when I was 14 years old. At the time I thought it was a cool thing he was doing but fortunately back then I knew no one with cancer. That, and I remember thinking that his brother was cute. Now as a mother of three boys I see Terry Fox very differently. He symbolizes what a person can do when they put their mind to it. How someone can overcome insurmountable odds to do the impossible - run a marathon a day, every day for 143 days. Terry was an athlete in the truest sense of the word, he didn't run for fame or fortune, he ran for others and he inspired a nation. His mother should carry the torch in Vancouver and light the flame and finish the Olympic Relay at the Pacific where Terry meant to finish his Marathon of Hope over 30 years ago.
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