AT LEAST one local torch runner says he’s not normally a runner, but is glad for the chance to take part in the Olympic torch relay.
Laurence Robinson heard back in October he had been chosen but says he won’t know until three weeks before his Feb. 1 date which part of the run here he will be doing.
“When I saw the ad on TV, I thought ‘sure why not put my name down.’” he says.
“Well, this is the closest I’ll ever get to being in the Olympics,” he says about how he felt when he was chosen.
“I’m doing it for my mom, she just turned 90..and my granddaughter who’s a cancer survivor,” he said, adding his granddaughter lives here and his mom lives in New Zealand.
And he says he’s not a natural runner and won’t actually be running at all.
As soon as he found out he’d been chosen, he knew his knees would not be able to withstand a run so he got hold of the torch runners program CHECK and said he would he would participate as a “quick walker.”
“My knees are no longer able to do it. My 60th birthday is coming up but I won’t be the oldest one,” he says, adding he saw former Olympic figure skater Barbara Ann Scott, now in her 80s and who is the only Canadian female figure skater to win Olympic gold, carry the torch into parliament.
Robinson is a special services assistant who works with special needs students at Skeena Junior Secondary full-time or part-time since 2000.
He did the job as a substitute for about five or six years before that.
“I don’t know if I’m going to have time to retire,” he says.
Robinson moved from his home country of New Zealand to Canada in July 1980 and has been in Terrace since 1989 when he came here for a job as an insurance adjuster.
He still works at that position on a casual on-call basis.
He is called in for disasters mainly for hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes and ice storms. When called, he goes to the location and figures out how much damage has been done, how much it will cost to fix and does estimates. It can mean long days for a lot of months, he says.
“Mainly I’m doing this because I’ve always been interested in the Olympics,” he said adding the torch run will bring a lot of attention beyond Vancouver and area to to our area and all of B.C.
“The idea behind the Olympics, higher, stronger, faster is a good and noble idea.”