Olympic dreams come true for trio of torchbearers

When the Olympic flame passes through Langley on Monday, Feb. 8, local torchbearers will have a hand in making history. From left: Linda Pauls of Walnut Grove will run along 200 Street from 85 Avenue to 83 Avenue; Brookswood resident Doug Jensen will run from 196 Street to Production Way and his wife, Nancy Jensen, will run from 56 Avenue across Fraser Highway and into City Hall.

Linda Pauls still recalls the buzz and atmosphere generated during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games when she lived in Calgary.

And while she was a spectator that time around, when the Olympic torch comes to Langley on Feb. 8, the 62-year-old will be front and centre as one of the torchbearers.

“It is pretty exciting,” she said. “I am just dreaming; I can’t wait.”

Pauls’ stretch of route is along 200 Street, between 85 and 83 Avenues.

Back in 1988, Pauls recalled watching the torch relay come through town and how excited the torchbearers were to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

That was part of the reasoning behind Pauls and her husband, Werner, applying to be torchbearers.

“It is the Olympics; how could you not want to do that?” she asked. “What an honour. I just had to put my name in.”

Pauls’ husband was not selected, but two of the couple’s very good friends were.

“I don’t know how we lucked out that much,” said Doug Jensen. “It was big to get one of us, let alone two of us.”

Both the Jensens are running in Langley City, with Doug carrying the torch from the corner of 56 Avenue and Production Way to 196 Street. His wife Nancy has a much more glamorous route, as she is scheduled to carry the torch into City Hall.

“We are just excited that (the Olympics) are coming to British Columbia,” said Doug, 60. “And we are just excited to be part of it.

“It is a huge opportunity that doesn’t come along very often.”

Nancy says she is excited and very nervous.

“I just feel so, so fortunate and appreciate that I was chosen,” the 62-year-old said.

She said after hearing the stories the Pauls’ had about the 1988 Olympics, it nudged her and her husband into wanting to get involved with the 2010 Games.

“We were already thinking about it,” she said. “And I think with them and all their enthusiasm from being there and witnessing the Olympics (in 1988), the fire was lit under the four of us to get in there and volunteer and put our names forth to be torchbearers.”

Pauls said it is an honour to be involved with the Games.

“This makes you feel like an Olympian; it is amazing, it just means so much,” Pauls said.

“The way they have done the torch relay has really pulled together ordinary people from around the country,” she added. “It is just so much of an honour to be a part of that.”

In anticipation of her big day, Pauls’ children and grandchildren, some of them coming from Calgary and Vernon for the event, will be staking out spots along her route to cheer her on. The Jensens will also have family and friends witnessing their run.

Asked what her emotions are as the event nears, Pauls said she was displaying a wide range of feelings.

“I am everything: I am nervous, I am excited, I am emotional about it,” she said.

With the big day looming closer and closer, the anticipation is building.

“Now that we have our uniforms at home and all the stuff is here, you can really feel the excitement picking up for sure,” Doug said.

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