Motivation, moments and ‘so much more’

Brooskwood student Emily Rowell carried the Olympic torch to inspire young people.

It was all over in an instant. Or at least it seemed that way.

”I was scared when I held the torch because I have a fear of fire,” said Emily Rowell.

”And then before I knew it, I was passing it off and it was over.”

Rowell, a 17-year-old Grade 11 student at Brookswood Secondary, had the honour of being part of the Olympic torch relay.

She ran her leg back in late December in Midland, Ont.

”It was really, really cool,” she recalled. ”All the people lined up, clapping and cheering for us.”

Rowell was chosen as a torchbearer through her work with the group Motivate Canada, a non-profit organization empowering youth through sports and recreation.

The group had 20 spots for its youth leaders — who would run as one — and asked those interested to submit a short essay on why they should be considered.

”I think that the Olympics are a fascinating part of history,” Rowell wrote. ”The fact they represent peace between nations is an important reminder for today’s world.

”I find that the Olympics are too often viewed as a big competition — which they are — but they are an opportunity for much more. I wish to represent that ’so much more’ for the young people of Canada.”

Another reason Rowell pursued this opportunity was because of her grandfather, Frederick Rowell, who had a long and storied involvement with the Canadian Olympic track and field team. He was also inducted into the B.C.Sports Hall of Fame for his work in the sport as a builder back in 1992.

”I think Granddad would have done it and he would have wanted me to do it,” she said.

Even a few weeks after she ran the relay, the memories are still fairly fresh and vivid

The group ran for about a total of one kilometre, with each person carrying the torch for 50 metres.

”At the very end, we all gathered in one big group and were just jumping up and down, not really singing, but yelling O Canada,” she recalled.

”It was so much energy and so much love. It was pretty cool.”

And even more special than the fact she was a torchbearer, is what has transpired since.

”One of the best parts isn’t so much that I got to run with it, but getting to tell people and seeing their facial expressions,” she said. ”Just being able to share that joy.”

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