The Olympic Torch Run through Langley took place exactly one year ago today (Feb. 8, 2010).
It was truly a fantastic event, and in many ways it was a very accurate foreshadowing of just how great the 2010 Winter Olympics turned out to be.
The torch run was meticulously planned and went off without a hitch. It started early in the morning in Walnut Grove and Fort Langley, moved on to Aldergrove, and then it proceeded along 200 Street near Highway 1 to stop for a massive community event at the Langley Events Centre.
The crowds all along the route were impressive, whether it was first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. While no one can say exactly how many people saw the torch pass through Langley, it’s likely safe to say that at least half the population were able to set their eyes on it at one place or another.
The large community event at the Events Centre was very impressive, with lots of entertainment and enthusiasm. The most important moment came when Langley‘s Lauren Barwick, a gold medal Paralympian at the 2008 games, wheeled along 80 Avenue and through the Events centre parking lot to the stage, with the torch.
Her story of triumph over some very challenging life circumstances is exactly what is so great about the Olympics and Paralympics. She has inspired many people in this community, and there was no better choice for a torch bearer at that juncture.
After the events took place on the big stage, the torch bearers were off again, heading into Langley City. The crowds on the streets in the City were large, as they were all over the Township.
The absolute crush of people who congregated to the area near the stage outside Langley City Hall had to be seen to be believed. They made the crowds at the annual Cruise-In seem light in comparison.
The ceremony at Langley City Hall wasn’t as long as the Township event, but it was just as memorable in many ways. One of the best things was the representation on stage from many countries — a reminder of the universal nature of the Games and how they bring people together, rather than draw them apart. It’s a useful reminder for all of us on the value of working towards a common purpose.
Once the event at City Hall was complete, the torch bearers were off again — to Cloverdale, and other parts of Surrey, where a big community event took place that evening.
The weather was wonderful on that Feb. 8 — much as it was on Monday and will likely be later this week. The spirits of all who played a small part, even as observers, were incredible.
It was a great beginning to two incredible weeks, as B.C. hosted the world and was on the world stage in a way that has never happened before.
Those who were fortunate enough to take in Olympic events, or simply enjoy the atmosphere on the streets of Vancouver, Richmond or Whistler, won’t soon forget the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Nor will those from Langley who were fortunate enough to take in the torch run.