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A burning desire for the torch

Having her dreams of carrying the Olympic torch thwarted by an overzealous runner in 1988 hasn’t dissuaded Laurie Swanson from taking another crack at making history on Canadian soil.

Having her dreams of carrying the Olympic torch thwarted by an overzealous runner in 1988 hasn’t dissuaded Laurie Swanson from taking another crack at making history on Canadian soil.

“I was running alongside the runner and she was supposed to hand it off to me, but she just kept going,” said Swanson. Known as Laurie Tutte at the time, she had won a national contest through Petro-Canada to carry the torch onto the city hall stage in Mississauga in 1988, prior to Calgary’s Winter Olympics.

Despite the mix-up, Swanson, 55, still raved about the experience of running and speaking in schools about being selected.

The honour is up for grabs again, with RBC and Coca-Cola Canada both offering 4,500 spots to the public — and Swanson intends to apply again.

Both contests rest on themes of commitment to the environment and personal health. For details on how to enter go to icoke.ca or (both Coca Cola websites), or www.carrythetorch.com for RBC contest details.

The torch will be in Toronto on Dec. 18. In total about 12,000 Canadians are expected to carry it along a 45,000-kilometre route for 100 days with the final leg wrapping up at B.C. Place.

 
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