Calgary Olympics athletes gather to pass the torch to a new generation
neil mackinnon/metro calgary
In true Olympic spirit about 500 Calgarians joined some of the countries finest athletes from the ’88 Olympics to pass the torch again 20 years later.
Canada Olympic Park held a special celebration last night commemorating the 20th anniversary of the1988 Calgary Winter Olympics Games and featured some very special guests including Jamaican bobsledder Devon Harris and renowned speed skater Catriona Le May Doan.
Volunteers, athletes, politicians and fans of the Olympics all joined together last night with candles and mini Canadian flags in hand as the torch was passed from older generation athletes to a new generation.
Although she didn’t live in the city during the ’88 Olympics, Carmen Custelcean wanted to bring her two six-year-olds to share in the excitement of the Olympic spirit.
“I brought them here to experience the ’88 Olympics with everyone here. They’re so excited and I just wanted them to see what it would have been like to have been there,” Custelcean said, adding she came from Romania to live in the city.
Honorary guests in the ceremony included current Mayor Dave Bronconnier, and none other than Ralph Klein, former premier of Alberta and mayor of Calgary during the ’88 Olympics.
“One of my fondest memories of the Olympics was the opening and closing ceremonies when I gave the flag away,” Klein told Metro.
“I don’t know where the 20 years have gone because it seems like it was just yesterday.”
And while Klein remembered the Olympics for putting Calgary on the world map, he also remembers the broken ribs he received when he tried the luge and bobsleigh events.
“I definitely wouldn’t do that again,” Klein laughed.
Former Olympic skier Karen Percy was on hand to pass the torch on and also fondly remembers the ’88 Olympics in which she won Canada’s first medal of the Games.