Bearers proud to carry torch

Terry Stevens waves to the crowd as he runs the final segment of the Olympic torch relay through the District of Coldstream Tuesday morning.

The only problem concerning Trish Dalcourt as she prepared to carry the Olympic torch through Coldstream Tuesday morning was the hand-off.

Dalcourt was told she’d be handing things over to former CFL star Lawrie Skolrood, who would be stationed atop a Lavington Fire Department antique truck. Half Skolrood’s size, Dalcourt, at five-foot-one, was, er, up for the challenge.

“My excitement is off the map,” said Dalcourt during a pre-torch briefing at the rec centre. “I grew up on Ormsby Drive, went to Coldstream Elementary and Kal schools. This is my neighbourhood.”

Told by torch officials to “be rock stars for the day,” Dalcourt, who now resides in Edmonton, obliged.

She smiled and waved to the crowd during her segment, then hopped on the truck to seamlessly transfer her flame to Skolrood.

“It was the most amazing thing to be part of,” said Dalcourt. “I was 100 times more excited during and after the relay. Everybody in the truck (after the run) was floating six feet above the ground.”

For Skolrood, a Coldstream resident and deputy fire chief for the City of Vernon, his stint with the flame was memorable.

“It was great,” said Skolrood, inducted into the Saskatchewan Roughriders Hall of Fame in 2009. “It was great going through Coldstream, I was really proud of Coldstream today.

“The Hall of Fame honour is a little more personal, but I was proud to carry the torch today.”

Vancouver’s Ian Gordon is a two-time Olympic rower (Munich, 1972, and Montreal, 1976, where he finished fifth), who carried the torch in Coldstream.

Gordon has taken part in Olympic opening and closing ceremonies (and is part of the rehearsal for the Vancouver opening ceremonies), but was equally excited to be carrying the flame.

“It was fantastic,” said Gordon, who had his wife, her father and step-mother cheering him on during his segment. “It was a special day for the kids. There were so many kids on the route. The excitement the kids brought to it was a great experience.”

Hundreds lined Kalamalka Road to catch a glimpse of the torch and cheer on the runners.

Cody Stacey and Trish Marshall didn’t let injuries prevent them from welcoming the Olympic flame.

Stacey, nursing a broken foot, hobbled up the road on his crutches, joined by friends Shelby and Jade Ralston and Kira Urbas.

“I crutched all the way from my house to see the torch. It was pretty cool,” said Stacey.

“It was a once-in-a-life opportunity,” added Shelby. “I’m not going to any of the Olympic events so this is as close as I’ll get.”

Marshall, a two-time competitor in the Ironman Canada triathlon, and Coldstream resident, broke her shoulder cross-country skiing after Christmas.

“I think it’s pretty important to come out and see history,” said Marshall, her injured shoulder housed in a sling under an Ironman Canada sweater. “I think it’s very cool that it came through my neighbourhood in Coldstream. When they first announced it was coming here, I thought it would only be in Vernon.”

The torch route was a chance for some to relive 1988, when Calgary hosted the Winter Games.

Coldstream’s Craig Wyllie, who carried the torch in Vernon during a late afternoon stint in 1988, was decked out in his Calgary torch relay outfit, a red and white jacket with red track pants.

“Still fits, but a little more snug,” laughed Wyllie. “I didn’t try to be a torch bearer this year. I had my time, and I thought it was time to let others experience the opportunity.”

Maureen Schmaltz of Vernon, joined by her son, Joseph, 13, was living in Calgary in 1988, and remembered watching the torch go by her when she lined the torch route in the city’s northwest district. She was fine with allowing her son to miss French class at his Kelowna school.

“I have no problems whatsoever,” she smiled. “I have no problems with him taking in history.”

Joseph, who had “Go Canada” painted on his face, was excited to catch a glimpse of the torch.

“I wanted to be here to take part in this great torch run that’s leading up to the Vancouver Olympics,” said Joseph.

After Coldstream, the torch was carried through Vernon, then off to Spallumcheen, Armstrong and Enderby before spending Tuesday night in Sicamous and Revelstoke.