Torch still burns bright, even after 22 years

By Rick MacDonnell, SnowSeekers Inc.

Twenty-two years ago, Keith Shaw of Calgary, Alberta was one of eight Olympic Torch bearers who rode in the first van as the Torch passed into this province. To this day, the feeling has never left him.

"It was just fantastic," Shaw said. "My Dad was there, which made it really special for me to have been able to share that with him. It's still one of my fondest memories."

Shaw shook his head when asked to think about what the current Torch bearers are thinking and going through at that moment. "You get excited in the van while you're waiting your turn. Then all of a sudden you realize that it's your turn, so you get out, and you're still waiting. Then you see it coming towards you and the momentum is almost unbearable."

As he spoke, Shaw's eyes became increasingly distant, and it was clear that he wasn't in 2010 anymore. He was back in '88. 

And then when you run with it ... it's powerful. It's powerful."

Dressed in his original Torch Bearer suit from 22 years ago – which still fits perfectly, I might add, as a result of him still swimming four times a week – Shaw beamed about the power of Western Canada and it's Olympic reputation.

"We put on a pretty good show, I think. We had a fantastic crew of volunteers, there were so many people who were committed and they were trained very well."

Shaw doesn't see things playing out any differently in Vancouver. "The coaching programs, the volunteers, and the facilities are what brought the Olympics back to Western Canada. And now with the 'Own the Podium' program, I think it's really going to pay off. It should be fantastic."

Make sure to catch the Travel Alberta Olympic Torch Relay videos on YouTube at

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