By Rick MacDonnell
When Tim Squire moved from England to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan at the age of 14, his mother told him that they did it so he could realize his dreams. More than 30 years later, as the Olympic Torch made its way through Lloydminster, Alberta, Squire's dreams became a reality.
A little more than a year ago, Squire wrote his application essay to become a torch bearer for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Citing his more than 20 years as a youth soccer coach and community mentor, Squire hoped his contributions would be enough to garner him a spot. However, he wasn't holding his breath.
"It wasn't until June or July that I received the word. They contacted me in an e-mail, so I didn't really believe it," laughed Squire. "There are so many hoaxes out there, you know, and I thought that I was such a longshot. But in the next month or two, I kept receiving these emails and then in August, I received one that specifically mentioned my coaching background, and I then knew. This was real."
When asked what it was like to be chosen as a torch bearer in Canada, rather than his native England, Squire beamed with Canadian pride. "Most Canadians don't understand just how beautiful their country is. It's the most beautiful country in the world. I couldn't be more proud to carry the torch as a Canadian."
And Canada couldn't be more proud of Squire. At the evening's celebration in Lloydminster's Bud Miller Park, Squire couldn't walk five feet without being asked for a photo, or hounded for an autograph.
"It's surreal. I feel like a celebrity. Everyone's just so nice, asking to take my picture or shake my hand ... it's an unbelievable impact that this torch has. It's incredible how it brings out the best in everyone it touches."
Canada's torch run is the longest in the history of the games. By the time it reaches Vancouver, British Columbia, the relay will have covered over 45,000 kilometres.
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