The evening of November 24, Debbie Cooper will mount the stairs of the stage outside the Marco Polo Cruiseship Terminal and light the Olympic cauldron with a torch she carried along Water Street. The flame will cast its glow over the Saint John Harbour and over the citizens who will gather to see this historic moment, part of the longest domestic Olympic Torch relay in history. The torch lighting is a part of a community-wide celebration planned for the evening.
Cooper was chosen by the local celebration committee. Saint John Mayor Ivan Court is a member. “We wanted someone who embodied the nature of our community and we couldn’t think of a better choice. The Olympics are a celebration of the potential of youth. This is what Debbie Cooper does every day,” says Court.
Cooper began her long association with the Boys and Girls Club when she was seven. She worked with the Club off and on for 31 years. Heavily involved in several community organizations and provincial and national committees, she also coached girls and women’s softball teams representing N.B. at National Softball Championships – midget, junior and senior levels. She has also been recognized with many awards including the Canada 125 commemorative medal, Saint John Sportsperson of the Year in 1995, Coach of the Year Award in 1989, NB Summer Games Gold Medalist in softball, many provincial, and Eastern Canadian championships. Cooper will drop the puck at tonight’s SeaDogs game.
To celebrate the arrival of the flame, the community celebration committee, made up of staff from the City of Saint John and sponsors RBC and Coca Cola have planned an evening of family fun that begins at Marco Polo Cruiseship Terminal at 5pm with a children’s carnival. A formal program begins at 5:45pm with a showcase of local culture hosted by Jason MacLean. RBC and Coca Cola will also present entertainment. The flame arrives at 7pm. There will be further entertainment including the band Tradition. Fireworks will cap off the night at 8pm.
The 106-day Olympic Torch Relay, which is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada, will visit more than 1,030 communities and places of interest in every province and territory. On February 12, 2010, the Olympic Flame will make its way to downtown Vancouver to light the Olympic Cauldron in a magical and awe-inspiring moment before a television audience of three billion people worldwide, signalling the kick off to the start of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com