Feb. 07 | FIRE! Take 3 ...

  • Posted on: 8 February 2010
  • By: Michelle

OK ... the parties in Squamish and Whistler were pretty cool ... but there is something totally unique and inspiring and moving about seeing one torchbearer pass on the flame to another torchbearer only metres away from you.

torch

I was invited by the Pemberton torch relay organizers to give a short speech during their community celebration, and, not wanting to deprive a town of their chance to hear the tales of fame and fortune of a development skeleton athlete, I gladly accepted.

speech

When it comes to public appearances, especially when you are ranked 31st in the world in a sport no one has heard of, haven't been to the Olympics and aren't technically the hometown girl, you win some and you lose some ...

Letting a classroom of grade one francophone students crawl all over your sled after you hack your way through a presentation in French: win. Hacking your way through a presentation in French to several hundred immersion students who couldn't be less impressed with your expensive cafeteria tray: lose.

Grabbing the class clown and dressing him in your spandex in front of 50 eleven year olds: win. Showing up for a presentation and instead being asked to ref the grade five dodge ball game in gym class: lose.

High-energy, three-minute interview with skilled MC in front of 5,000-strong home crowd after Olympic flame comes to town: win. Five-minute talk-about-anything-you-want at 9 o'clock on a Saturday morning while pancake breakfast is waiting to be consumed after Olympic flame comes to town: yeah ... uhhh ... not so much.

I think I might have to file this one in the "well ... it was a learning experience" category.

First, I totally misjudged my audience, which was small-town family, and went with the same theme I had used for a speech to a luncheon of business execs and sponsors. For the record, five year olds aren't particularly interested in being told that they make an integral contribution to the success of a high-performance skeleton athlete ...

Secondly, just like my skeleton starts (it's either balls-to-the-wall blazing fast or my-wheelchair-bound-grandmother-could-push-faster dirt slow), it seems I only have two public-speaking modes: the formal, thought out, well written and scripted speech, read aloud at a lectern. Or the casual, minimal-prep, improvised, shoot-from-the-hip talk, with plenty of running across the stage and jumping around.

The minute I pull out the index cards, or a bulleted list, or some kind of point-form reminder of what I want to say, I sound like Tim Calhoun trying to get a few votes on Weekend Update. Which is not pretty in any way.

Yeah, should have gone with the second public-speaking style for this one ...

So, uhh, to the community of Pemberton, I formally apologize for being kinda a dud on this one. I promise to do better next time ... or at least be an Olympian to make up for it ...

But, you live and learn right?

On the plus side, while hanging around afterward, signing autographs for my adoring fans letting a couple toddlers crawl around on my sled, I did get to hold one of the torch replicas ... which, I have to be honest, was pretty cool ...

torch

You can't tell me that I don't pull off dork without vim or vigour ...