Olympic Torch Touches Down in Ontario

After a journey through Quebec, the Olympic Flame touched down in the nation’s capital on Saturday, marking the beginning of its voyage through Ontario. Among the Olympians carrying the Flame this week are 14 medallists.

On Dec.13 – Day 45 of the Relay – the Flame passed through northeastern Ontario. In Almonte, it was carried by Elizabeth Manley-Theobald, Canada’s figure skating darling who captured the hearts of many Canadians after her silver medal win at the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary. Back in Ottawa, the Flame was carried by 1948 Olympic figure skating gold medallist, Barbara Ann Scott-King. The town of Renfrew welcomed 1980 Olympic sailor Tam Matthews, now a 2010 torchbearer.

Today, four Olympians carry the Flame. Cornwall celebrates the arrival of two 1976 Olympic medallists – swimmer Anne Alexander who won two bronze medals, and high jumper Greg Joy, who captured silver. In Kingston, 1996 silver medal rower Jeff Lay carries the Torch, and in Orleans, 1976 Olympic rower Beverly Cameron.

Tuesday, Tim Irwin, a 1968 Olympic sailor, carries the Torch in Kingston. Wednesday we find another sailor, Michael de la Roche (1976), carrying it in the small town of Lakefield, Ont.

Thursday the Torch winds through Markham, where three Olympians carry the Torch. They are 2006 Olympic hockey champion Gillian Apps, 800-metre silver medallist Bill Crothers (1964) and 2008 Olympic high jumper Nicole Forrester. Over in Pickering, Brian Orser – a household name in figure skating and two-time silver medallist – carries the Torch. In Toronto, a lineup of Olympians carry the Flame: COC Honourary Life President James Worrall (1936, athletics), Owen Von Richter (2000, swimming), Paul Craig (1980, athletics), Paul Henderson (1968, 1964, sailing), Robert Finlay (1968, athletics) and Erin McLean (2008, softball).

That lineup on Thursday includes Olympic multiple medallists, Vicky Sunohara and Marnie McBean. Sunohara, an ice hockey player, competed in 2006, 2002 and 1998, winning two gold medals and one silver. McBean, a powerhouse rower, counts an impressive three Olympic gold medals, and one bronze medal, to her name.

On Friday, the Torch Relay heads west to Bolton, where 2008 Olympian shooter Avianna Chao runs a leg. In Brampton, a crowd will surely draw for four-time world champion figure skater, Kurt Browning, as well as 1984 track athlete Tim Bethune.

Saturday, the Torch turns back in Toronto, carried there by swimmer Mike West, 1984 silver and bronze medallist. In Mississauga, two-time Olympic ice hockey champion Cheryl Pounder trades skates for running shoes and the Olympic Flame. In Oakville, the Torch passes through the hands of several Olympians including identical twin alpine skiers Rhoda Wurtele Eaves and Rhona Wurtele Gillis, 1976 silver medal canoeist John Wood and triple medallist Adam van Koeverden, the kayaker who was Canada’s flag bearer in 2008.

Next Sunday, the Torch travels to Hamilton, where 2010 hopeful snowboarder and star of MTV’s “Over the Bolts” Michael Lambert carries it. He is joined in Hamilton by two-time Olympic cyclist (2004, 1996) Susan Palmer-Komar. In Niagara Falls, triathlete Collin Jenkins and cyclist Gordon Singleton carry the Torch. The picturesque village of Niagara-on-the-Lake welcomes judoka Kimberly Ribble-Orr. Three-time Olympic field hockey player Sharon Creelman carries the Torch in Queenston while 2008 kayaker Brady Reardon carries it in Jordan.