The final torchbearer

Debate is renewed about who the final torchbearer for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be after organisers announced that it won’t be hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.  Furlong said spectators will find out the final torchbearer’s identity on Friday night: “You can think about this as long as you’d like and you can think about the last moments of the ceremonies as long as you’d like and you’re not going to figure it out.”

Whoever makes the final run, I’m more excited that Olympic gold medallist and Pemberton resident Hugh Fisher will take up the torch on Friday February 12, passing it from dragonboat to Voyageur Canoe, in the middle of False Creek for the next-to-last leg of the relay.

Dr Fisher won Olympic Gold and Bronze with Kayak partner Alwyn Morris at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. He might be Canada’s most understated Olympic celebrity – a small-town family physician who is the quiet force behind the Laoyam Eagles dragonboat success, coaching Pemberton and Mt Currie kids on a lake the size of a puddle to take the Alcan Dragonboat Festival championship ten years in a row.

I talked to Hugh for this Pique feature – “Is any of this interesting to you?” he asked, as he cracked me up with the story of getting left behind at the venue after the competition because it took three hours to provide a urine sample to doping control, or explained the impact that a wave of Hungarian expats had on Canadian paddling. 

“Yeah, Hugh, you could say that.”

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