Jean Labonté's Olympic Torch Relay Experience
December 16, 2009

Carrying the torch was an unbelievable moment, and an unforgettable one. I was not only fortunate enough to carry the torch but I was also the cauldron lighter, the last torch bearer of the day, in my hometown, Gatineau.

My 300-meter segment started off with family and friends greeting me at my insertion point (torch relay lingo). A few minutes later Mike Fisher from the Sens arrived and passed me the flame. After my torch was lit, I walked through my segment waving to people standing on the side of the road. For the last hundred feet or so I was surrounded by a huge crowd waiting in front of the stage where I was to light the cauldron.

I was going through the crowd and giving high-fives to everyone. I don't remember if I walked, ran or flew through that last stretch, but I do remember the faces of the people on each side, each and everyone of them had a huge grin, everyone was happy. This is a moment where it does not matter where you're from, who you are or what you believe in. It is a moment that simply brings people together.

I made my way on the stage and once beside the cauldron, I took my time to really let the moment sink in, and then slowly approched my torch from the cauldron. It then lit up and the crowd cheered like crazy.

I made sure I savored every moment of it through the whole segment. It is an experience I will remember forever.


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Spencer Sharkey
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