It was only last Thursday when Dad and I were watching TV and the Olympic Flame was being handed to Great Britain in Greece, then it hit home to me the Olympics are here! "You do realise Gorgs" says Dad, "you're going to be carrying that very flame on Monday?!"
It seemed that as soon as the torch had stepped onto British soil with Ben Ainslie, the Olympics became reality to everyone else too! My phone was on fire that weekend, with people asking the same question, where and when are you carrying the Torch Gorgs?!
It was a beautiful sunny 6am Monday morning, when my travel mug full of coffee and I met the torch bearing crew at Okehampton Primary School. This was the chosen location for the second group of torch bearers (9-21) of the third day. I was torch bearer number 11, as the numbers started afresh each day. All dressed in our white uniforms it was easy to spot, even with our bleary morning eyes, who were the chosen few runners!
Having assembled, been given a pep-talk, we were ushered onto the bus as the flame and its procession had left Exeter. It was coming! Driving through Okehampton to the first carrier drop off point, the streets were already filling with eager anticipating faces! Each of us were to carry the torch about 300m. I was in the privileged position to be trotting through the very centre of Okehampton! Reaching the third drop off point, I stepped off the bus clutching ‘my torch,’ to be greeted by a mass of friendly faces. I have never had so many photographs taken at 8am on a Monday morning before!
The atmosphere was building as the procession of open-top buses, security and police vehicles followed the Flame. And then I could see it! From then onwards, the slick operation continued. Just after the KISS of the flame was transferred to my torch and me starting to run (I decided to run rather than walk or skip in the style of Michael McIntyre, as I’m an athlete!), I can remember very clearly seeing my best friend in the crowd and mouthing to her “WOW, this is THE flame!” It was only at that moment I realised I was the only person in the world holding the Olympic Torch! What an honour!
Okehampton is my home town. Where I was born, went to school and still train to this day. So it was amazing and I felt so proud to be running past so many faces who have helped me to be where I am today. I couldn’t believe the street was lined 5 or 6 people deep in places, I felt I was bouncing with their energy! Also because the relay is aired live over the internet, my Brother in Australia and Uncle in USA were able to watch as well. Very special.
After the KISS of me passing the flame to Number 12, a potential 2016 Olympic British Taekwondo athlete, I was picked up by the bus and followed the torch through the neighbouring villages until we had all assembled back on the bus.
Returning to Steve, (my TeamGregory car!), it was back to reality as I needed to be at Gatwick later that day for a flight to Munich World Cup! I had bought my torch previously so when it was deactivated I took it home. I was astounded the night before, watching someone sell theirs on Ebay for £153,000! How could anyone could sell that amazing piece of history? Mine is priceless.
After all this excitement dies down, my torch will take pride of place in the Geikie’s downstairs loo!