Feb. 06 | FIRE! Take 2 ...

  • Posted on: 7 February 2010
  • By: Michelle

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After hearing rumours at Thursday night's torch shin dig that the Whistler celebration the following evening was expected to be bigger than Ottawa's, we decided to get maple syruped up, try out the free transit system and check it out ourselves.

It was definitely a little bigger than the Squamish celebration, packed out with easily 10,000 people and pretty awesome. I mean, it didn't have a three-minute interview with a 31st world ranked development skeleton athlete or anything ... but, crazy Canuck Steve Podborski did ski down the hill with the torch, so that was alright, I guess ...

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One part I missed the night before was the First Nations Fire Keepers capturing the flame from the cauldron that burns through the evening, to light the next torch in the relay the following day.

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Once the Olympic flame is lit in Athens, it doesn't go out until the end of the closing ceremonies, and so for the Vancouver torch relay there were twelve First Nations youth chosen as Flame Attendants (reflecting the significance of the Aboriginal role of being the Fire Keeper), making sure the flame is passed from torch to torch and keeping the backup lanterns burning. How's that for a job description?

"What's your job?"

"Well, I am the keeper of the Olympic Flame."

"Yeah? So, uhhh ... what do you do?"

"Well, I make sure that this fire in this jar here, which represents the universal spirit of peace, understanding, and sportsmanship, the unity of mankind, and the hopes and dreams of all of humantity, never goes out."

Sounds a little bit more important than my job, which essentially boils down to keeping track of which athletes are currently in the crapper and unavailable for video at that particular moment ...

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We also discovered that devil fingers are much less sinister, and the hang loose sign far less cool, when clad in fuzzy, red, knitted mittens donned by people wearing hats in the shape of maple leafs.