What sparked your interest in being a Torch Bearer?
Since being chosen, I thought of many reasons, but all seem way too embarrassing, almost “Hallmark”-ish. But then I met someone at the Ottawa Marathon who made it all clear.
She and I were the only two spectators out at the 5km marker, her with a black lab and me, still half asleep frantically trying to spot the members of my Montreal Boreal Running Club so I can cheer them on.
As we started to chat, I was immediately fascinated by this woman. She was nervous about her son running the race, worried about all the things that could go wrong. She continued to tell me the story of her son, a person, which on his own, would have difficulty crossing a simple intersection and states his black lab is a Dalmatian covered in soot hiding from Cruella DeVille. Her son Tommy is Autistic.
That is when it came to me – the power of sports and how much its effect goes way beyond the individual participating in it.
When our Canadian athletes go for the gold, when my Running club group and coaches challenge its members to push harder during a run, when a mom voices her pride to a complete stranger on how her son, who is Autistic, surpasses most of the abilities of his competitors…I know that we are all benefitting from the good of sport.
The Pan Am games are made up of teams, countries and events, but it is more importantly made up of unique individuals and each one of them is harnessing the power of sport, and that reverberates loudly.
Why should you carry the torch?
Because I want to show my respect for the power of the sport and my recognition to those who keep it burning!
If you had a chance to do one thing out of the ordinary when carrying the torch, what would it be?
I would have bells on my shoes, and would drag empty cans on a string behind me with a big sign on my back saying “ Well, look at me! Who’d a thought!”
Author: Julia Skierszkan
Born in Sudbury, Ontario to a family of four, Julia was the youngest. Now she has a family of her own; Julia has been in a loving marriage for 30 years and has two wonderful children. Alongside her pride for her family, is that of her work – she has been the IT Manager for 14 years at Metro Supply Chain Group, a Canadian owned company. Julia loves to run and trail over road; she sometimes participates in races as an excuse to travel around the world.