from Carroll, Oldham
to carry 2002 Olympic torch
(December 2001) Crestwood, Ky A few months ago
Jean Sutton of Crestwood, Ky., was your normal everyday
pre-school teacher. James Duvall of Ghent, Ky., was your
average chemical engineer about to turn 50. Now they are
two of the lucky 7,200 cross-country runners who get to
participate in the Olympic Torch Relay en route to the
2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City.
Sutton & Lynn Ward
The relay is a 65-day event covering 13,500
miles. The procession through Kentucky will take place
Dec. 17-18. According to Salt Lake Organizing Committee
spokesperson Mark Walker, the torch will enter Kentucky
from Nashville, Tenn., making stops in Bowling Green,
Elizabethtown, Louisville, Frankfort, Lexington, Covington
Three Carroll Countians and seven Oldham Countians have
been selected by Chevrolet and Coca-Cola to run the torch
in the relay. Participants were nominated by their peers
back in March and April. The nominating party had to compose
a 100-word essay on why they believed that person deserved
to carry the torch. Walker said that those chosen were
usually nominated and selected for inspirational and unselfish
acts they had performed.
Three panelists read each essay, and the runners chosen
were notified in the late summer and told not to reveal
this nomination to anyone outside their immediate family
until Sept 15. This is when the public announcement was
going to be made that is, until the Sept. 11 terrorists
attacks delayed it another month. Now area runners are
gearing up for their one moment in time.
It was sufficient for me just to be nominated,
said Duvall. To be chosen was a complete surprise
to me. But Im kind of a sports nut, anyway. I follow
the Olympics regularly.
There are several torches used in the relay due to the
amount of gas each can contain for a specific amount of
time. Coca-Cola will give Duvall a torch worth $400 as
a momento after the occasion.
Its almost overwhelming because when Im
carrying the torch, I am going to be the only one carrying
the Olympic flame at that moment, said Sutton, 45.
Im just thrilled to do this, said Lynn
Ward, a Louisville native and La Grange resident carrying
the torch. Im running in honor of breast cancer
survivors and the families of those who have been touched
by breast cancer. Ward, 46, is the Assistant Division
Director for Specialized Child and Family Services at
Seven County Services, a community mental health center.
For some runners, there are mixed emotions involved with
running the torch. Carroll County Schools Assistant Superintendent
John F. James III is both happy and saddened by the opportunity.
Its a tremendous honor and privilege to be
part of this, said Jones. The disappointing
part is that my father isnt going to be there to
see me carry the torch.
Jones remembered when his father was so anxious to see
the torch pass through Carrollton in 1996 and did see
it. Theres a lot of emotional background.
At press time, not all runners had been notified of their
running location. Duvall knew that he would be running
at 7:33 a.m. on Dec. 18 from Rabbling Bridge into Cincinnati.
His route, like all the others, will be 2/10ths miles.
There are 11,000 runners total on the cross-country route.
Of those, 7,200 are selected community figures such as
the four mentioned. Others include Ronald Fultz II of
Carrollton; Dan Helton of Pewee Valley; John Maggio of
La Grange; and Richard Myers and Joseph Percefull, both
of Crestwood. The remaining torchbearers include sponsors
and celebrities such as Roma Downey of the TV show Touched
by an Angel and San Francisco 49ers quarterback
The relay is an incredible experience for all who
see it, said Walker.
For more information on the torch
relay, call (801) 212-2002.