At 91, Vancouver legend and big band leader Dal Richards may be one of the oldest Olympic torchbearers on the roster, but his age isn’t stopping him from running with the flame.

The iconic musician has added a rigorous workout schedule to his busy days — which are usually packed with music-related appointments, interviews and gigs — in preparation for the run.

“My wife, Muriel, ... is a bit of an athlete,” Richards told Metro Vancouver yesterday. “We go out to Andy Livingstone Park a few nights a week and jog.” In addition, Richards takes fitness classes at the Roundhouse Community Centre and swims at the YWCA pool.

His band is also booked as the opening act for the Paralympic Games at B.C. Place in March.
“I can’t think of being inactive,” Richards said. “Each day is filled with a challenge. So when I wake up, there’s always a full day ahead.”

Richards hosts a radio show on Sunday nights, has been playing at the PNE for more than 70 years, and has recently released a new CD and autobiography.

He said it’s funny to think his career started because of a slingshot accident at nine, in which he lost his left eye.

“I was confined to a darkened room to (recover) and I grew quite despondent,” Richards said.
His doctor suggested clarinet lessons to get his mind off the accident, and from there, a career blossomed.

“You never know what changes the course of your life,” Richards said.