Memories of Calgarians packed into Olympic Plaza for medal presentations during the 1988 Winter Olympics are still vivid in Mayor Dave Bronconnier’s mind.
He’s hoping a five-day celebration announced yesterday to honour the Jan. 18 arrival of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic torch into the city will re-ignite the Olympic spirit in Calgarians who experienced the Games, and acquaint the hundreds of thousands of newcomers with the experience.
“I think it’s important that all Calgarians experience the Olympic legacy that lives on in our community,” Bronconnier said.
Alongside Susan Auch, a three-time Olympic speedskating medallist and honorary chair for the Calgary torch celebrations, the mayor provided details of the events, beginning with an outdoor music festival presented by One Yellow Rabbit and the city at Olympic Plaza from 5 to 11 p.m., which will also feature fire performances and light displays.
Auch said she believes this celebration is a chance for the current edition of the Olympics to connect with ordinary Calgarians.
“I think the more people we can touch through the Olympics, and the torch relay is certainly one of the best ways … it’s very important,” she said.
“I mean, when do we get a chance to be this inspired?”
The torch will arrive at Olympic Plaza at 7 p.m. on Jan. 18, but prior to that, the plaza will be bustling with music from Crystal Plamondon and Terri Clark, and a parade of past Olympians and a trip down Olympic memory-lane with athlete Duff Gibson.
The torch will travel along Macleod Trail from Southland Drive to 17 Avenue, west along 17 Avenue, south on 4 Street SW to 9 Avenue, then east to Olympic Plaza.
Community celebrations will be held throughout the city from Jan. 16 to 20 and more information is available at calgary.ca/recreation.