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 user 2009-11-20 at 10:45:35 am Views: 51
  • #22962

    Carrying the flame for Barrie
    Olympic pride and excitement burns inside Bill Hamilton’s heart, and next month, that same flame will be flickering in the Barrie man’s hands.Hamilton has been chosen to be one of several local torchbearers in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay through a section of Barrie on Dec. 29 when the famous flame arrives in the city.”The next time I hold this torch, there’ll be flames coming off of it,” said Hamilton, a sales representative with Sutton Group, holding the torch high in one hand. “I can’t wait for Dec. 29. I’ll be running with the torch from Essa Road near Sticky Fingers (Bar and Grill) to Anne Street.”

    Hamilton and his wife, Debbie, are avid runners, doing eight-to 10-kilometre runs at least twice a week. And every four years, when the Games begin, they’re often glued to their television. So, it’s fitting that he was chosen after entering the RBC Carry the Torch Contest last November.

    But Hamilton said he never thought a guy like him could ever get a chance to be part of a pre-Olympic event.”As soon as I was aware that the average guy had a chance at this, I jumped on it,” he said. “When I went onto the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) website and saw the contest, I just had to get involved and I hoped I’d be selected.”My dream has come true, and what it means to me is uniting the different countries, representing my country through this act, and passing on that Olympic spirit,” he added, choking back his emotions. “The excitement is building for me, and there’s such a feeling of joy and pride for being chosen and helping that Olympic flame get lit.”

    Each torch bearer must make a pledge to create a better world for all, and Hamilton has taken a green approach with his.”I’ve started a recycling and collection program at my work with batteries, toner and ink cartridges,” he said. “They’ll be collected and given to a local recycling company, keeping it all out of the landfill.”

    Hamilton spoke and displayed the torch during the grand opening of the new RBC Barrie branch on Bryne Drive Wednesday afternoon.Steve Nixon, RBC’s regional vice-president, said combining the two announcements seemed fitting, and expressed his excitement at having another local resident chosen to bear the Olympic torch.”We offer congratulations to Mr. Hamilton for being selected,” Nixon said. “Over the coming months, even more announcements will be made about more chosen torch bearers across the country.”

    Nixon said he’s pleased with how well received the new branch is among clients.”We’ve been open two weeks, and the public response has been astounding,” he said. “We pride ourselves on partnerships and growth, and we’re happy to provide a new and much larger branch to customers.”Former Olympian Jeff Bean was also on-hand for the event, and said he shares Hamilton’s pride in being connected with the Games in some way.

    The Ottawa native retired from freestyle ski competitions after the 2006 Winter Olympics, but with the Games fast approaching, he’s full of anticipation.”There’s a real energy and excitement among Canadians that’s almost tangible now,” said Bean, who is promoting the Games and the torch relay for RBC. “I’m still involved in the Olympics, but in a different way. But, there’s still that same level of excitement for me as they draw near.”Bean also paid a visit to Bear Creek Secondary School and St. Catherine of Sienna School in Barrie, yesterday.