Juliann Hamilton says she grew increasingly nervous as the date neared to carry the 2010 Olympic torch through the Alberni Valley.
But it was while watching a video of torchbearers in Olympics past that she said she truly understood the significance of her role in the relay.
“They showed this video while we were on the shuttle bus at our station and ... I almost cried when I was watching it,” Hamilton recalled.
“It was of all the Olympic torchbearers before us, going way back ... to black-and-white footage. And that’s when it really hit me — this is big.”
The 20-year-old North Island College student was chosen to carry the flame on behalf of the Hupacasath First Nation in a traditional aboriginal canoe.
“I thought it was just going to be small ... but on the water so many people were cheering and waving. I felt like I knew everyone,” she said.
“It was unbelievable, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I’m honoured to be part of the team.”
Hamilton said it’s amazing to think she’s now part of a chain that’s linking the country for 106 days, and part of a legacy that crosses borders and spans generations.
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