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Olympic torch relay will come through

Brief by Central Staff

Local Events – February 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Olympic Torch will come through Central Colorado on its way to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games.

The torch began its trip on Dec. 4 in Atlanta, site of the 1996 Summer Games, and it wanders through 46 of the 50 states, with Colorado the penultimate.

Our segment comes on Feb. 1, when the torch will be carried from Colorado Springs to Vail, via Woodland Park, Divide, Florissant, Lake George, Johnson Village, Buena Vista, Leadville, and Minturn. (Hartsel wasn’t on the official list, but we don’t see how they’ll be able to avoid it.)

Each Coloradan who carries the torch will go a fifth of a mile (two or three blocks) before passing it on. Among those who will carry torches are cancer survivors, teachers, former Olympians, and relatives of victims of terrorism.

From Vail the torch goes to Aspen and Grand Junction before entering Utah.

This Colorado route inspired a complaint from Steamboat Springs resident Bill Schurman, who wrote a letter to the Denver Post: “That the torch will pass through Vail and Aspen and not Steamboat Springs, however, shows that this Olympics, more than all others, is all about money and glitz,” since “More Olympic medal winners either have resided or trained in Steamboat Springs than any other city in the United States…. For the torch not to pass through our city is an outrage.”

But Buena Vista and Leadville will both be celebrating the arrival of the torch. It’s supposed to reach Buena Vista just in time for lunch — one of 125 lunch stops across the nation. The torch will proceed on from Johnson Village to Avery Parsons Elementary School where there will be music, sponsor displays, an Olympic video show, and a chili cook-off to mark the event. Torch bearers will include 13 community residents, ages 12 through 77, and the torch should arrive on stage at the elementary school in Buena Vista at 1:43 p.m.

Later that day, at about 3 p.m., the torch arrives in Leadville where a Torch Light Parade, food festival, music, and ice sculptures will welcome its arrival.

But if you want to watch the torch go by, and then see yourself on television, the Wall Street Journal had some advice: Don’t be drinking Pepsi and driving a Ford.

The torch relay is sponsored by Chevrolet and Coca-Cola, and camera crews are supposed to avoid shots that might promote competing brands.

So much for the Olympics being a non-commercial festival that honors amateurism — as if we hadn’t figured that out earlier, when Salt Lake officials were accused of providing prostitutes for members of the committee that selects Olympic sites.