A Vancouver teenager is the first person selected to carry the 2010 Olympic torch, the event’s sponsor announced Monday.

Patricia Moreno, 18, will be one of about 12,000 torchbearers chosen by a panel of experts assembled by Coca-Cola to carry the flame during its 106-day journey across Canada.

“I feel overwhelmed, there’s so much to think about,” Moreno said from Toronto, where the announcement was made. “I feel more special every minute.”


Kirsten Mihailides, a spokesperson for Coke, said Moreno was chosen because she is a “great example of Canadian youth.”

“She’s a volunteer, she leads an active lifestyle and she’s a great ambassador for the torchbearer program,” Mihailides said.

Fittingly, Moreno learned she was going to carry the torch during the Christmas break while volunteering at the Ray-Cam Community Centre on East Hastings Street.

The Grade 12 student at Britannia High School said it was unexpected.

“They took me from the desk and when the Coke team came in I didn’t even think they were there for me,” she said. “I was excited and I was shaking.”

She said she was overwhelmed by the requests for interviews yesterday and that while excited, she’s a little afraid of dropping the torch.

“I don’t fully know all the responsibilities that I’ll have to take on. I know it’s a big deal,” Moreno said. “I’m just going to follow my basic rules, exercise and try to eat healthy.”

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