This Week in the Torch Relay

Over the next week, as the 2010 Torch Relay winds through the Maritimes, a dozen Canadian Olympians will carry the Flame. This past weekend, the Olympic Torch visited Newfoundland and Labrador before beginning a course through Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and New Brunswick.

On Nov. 16 – Day 18 of the Relay – the Flame crossed the Cabot Strait via ferry from Channel-Port aux Basques, Nfld. Upon arrival in Nova Scotia, it was carried by two Olympic kayakers – first by by Julia Rivard, a 2000 Olympian, in Baddeck, N.S. and then by 1996 Olympian Peter Giles in Mabou, N.S. Giles was also Canada’s Assistant Chef de Mission at the 2008 Olympic Games.

On Nov. 17, Eric Gillis, 2008 Olympian and Canadian 10,000-metre champion, carries the Flame through his hometown of Antigonish, N.S. Later, in Truro, N.S., Gary Macdonald, silver medallist in the 4×100-metre medley relay at the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games carries the Torch. For decades, Macdonald has devoted his time working in the swimming community in Nova Scotia.

On Wednesday, Nov. 18, the Flame reaches Halifax, where it is sure to draw a crowd. Carrying it will be 2010 Olympic hopeful, hockey phenom Sydney Crosby. Sarah Conrad, 2006 Olympic snowboarder, is another Halifax torchbearer. In Waverley, N.S., two canoe-kayak athletes will carry the Flame. One is four-time Olympian Steve Giles, who won bronze at the 2000 Olympic Games in the C-1 1,000-metre event. The other: 2008 Olympian Andrew Russell who had two hard-fought 5th- and 6th-place finishes in Beijing.

Friday, Elizabeth Ross – 2008 and 2004 Olympian in sailing – carries the Olympic Torch in Lunenburg, N.S. 2000 Olympic gymnast Crystal Kikuchi carries the Torch in Sackville, N.B. After the Flame crosses the Northumberland Strait into P.E.I., rower Heather Mandoli – who finished fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with the women’s eight – carries the Torch in Stanley Bridge, P.E.I. In Summerside, P.E.I., 2006 Olympian and 2010 Olympic hopeful, Heather Moyse, will represent her hometown by carrying the Torch. Moyse is the current Canadian women’s bobsleigh champion and at Torino 2006, narrowly missed a medal in finishing fourth.

Next Monday, 2006 bobsleigh Olympian Jamie Cruickshank carries the Torch back into New Brunswick. A 2004 national champion, Cruickshank first made her mark in athletics in winning the 2003 national junior title in long jump. In Dieppe, N.B, 1984 Olympian Monica Hitchcock carries the Flame. Hitchcock captained the women’s volleyball team that competed in Los Angeles and in 2005 was inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame.

Finally, 2006 Olympic curling champion Russ Howard carries the Flame in Moncton, N.B. That was the first Canadian men’s team to win Olympic gold in curling.