Among the more dramatic moments on the first day of the Olympic torch relay in Canada will be this afternoon when the Canadian gold medal rowing eight from the Beijing Games help ferry it across Elk Lake, their training grounds.
The first member of the team to handle it with will coach Mike Spracklen, whose hard-driving style has been lighting a flame under Canada’s rowers for some time now.
The crew has a special guest in Derek Porter, a member of of the 1992 Olympic champion eights crew and a silver medalist in single sculls at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Porter is filling in for Ben Rutledge, who is away on a trip with the UBC rowing team. The guessing here is that he’s also being employed to make sure that his buddy Jake Wetzel, a member of the 2008 champion crew who runs on his own unique internal clock, shows up for the gig on time.
The torch will be held by coxswain Brian Price, a cancer survivor, and they will stop in the middle of the lake, where it will be passed from Kyle Hamilton in the stroke seat all way down the boat until it is handed off to a junior crew to take it to Eagle Beach, where it will be passed to beloved Elk Lake junior coach Aalbert Van Schothorst.
Other members of the Canadian Olympic champion eight are Kevin Light, Malcolm Howard, Dominic Seiterle, Andrew Byrnes and Adam Kreek.
Here's a reminder of what that crew was about:
A Vote For John Ryan: Upon reading about the controversial issue of the CTV torchbearers, Brian Coughlin wrote in with a vote for someone he believes has been "grossly" overlooked for the honour.
“I realize that there are many persons deserving of the honour, and they just can't pick everyone, but this person I'm sure most would overwhelmingly say ‘yes’ to,” wrote Coughlin.
“John Ryan is an amazing story. He has resided in Whistler since 1987, is a paraplegic as a result of a car accident in 1994, and is one of the most successful realtors in Canada. He is an amazing athelete, and caring individual.
“In 1999, John embarked on the Regeneration Tour, where he handcycled across Canada to raise money and awareness for spinal cord research. He successfully completed this feat, from Cape Spear Newfoundland to Whistler , and raised over $1.2 million. He was awarded the Order of Canada, and presently sits as the Chair of the John and Penny Ryan Foundation.”
The CTV torchbearers issue has drawn attention outside of Canada with the U.S.-based website The Faster Times also entering the debate: “Canadian Media Types Shill For The Vancouver Olympics.”