Paralympic spirit - Metro US

Paralympic spirit

Olympic organizers unveiled the Paralympic torch relay route — which will run through 12 communities across Canada — to enthusiastic applause at Vancouver’s Eric Hamber Secondary School yesterday.

The relay, which kicks off in Ottawa March 3, will see 600 torchbearers carry the Paralympic flame across Canada in 10 days.

Mary McNeil, B.C.’s minister of state for the Olympics, said she hopes excitement for the Paralympic torch relay will match the Olympic torch relay hype.

“I had the absolute delight this weekend to participate in the Olympic torch relay,” she said. “I can’t tell you the excitement in each and every community. It blew me away, I had no idea we would get the crowds we did.”

Senator Nancy Greene Raine, who is also a former Olympian, said the relay will celebrate the Paralympian spirit and foster pride in Canada’s athletes.

“I know they’re ready for the Paralympics. They’re incredible athletes and really competitive.”
Organizers do not expect protesters to disrupt the Paralympic relay, said Andrea Shaw, VANOC’s sponsorship and marketing vice-president.

Protesters came under fire earlier this week after forcing organizers to scrap 10 legs of the Olympic torch relay, robbing young torchbearers of their Olympic moment.

But Shaw said since the initial protest, it has been smooth sailing.

“The communities are coming out,” she said. “We do not forecast any kind of issue with the Paralympic relay.”

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