Olympic torch comes through Carson Jan. 21

One wonders what the Greek gods would think of their sacred Olympic flame traversing the high desert of the Great Basin far from its Mediterranean home.

In ancient times, the Olympic games were held in honor of Zeus, the king of gods. In his honor a flame was lit to mark the beginning of the games and extinguished to mark their end.

This ancient Grecian tradition comes to Nevada as the 2002 Olympic Torch arrives in Carson City and Douglas County on Jan. 21.

The Olympic torch will start the Nevada leg of its cross-country journey in Stateline at 6:30 a.m. with a tour through North Douglas County before it begins its 1-1/2 hour jaunt through the capital at 7:50 a.m.

"It's quite an honor, and we're excited to be on the route," Mayor Ray Masayko said.

According to information from the Salt Lake City Olympic Committee Web site, www.slc2002.org, the 2002 torch is a 3-pound glass, silver and copper structure described as a "fiery icicle." The torch is highly symbolic, designed to represent the theme of this year's Winter Olympics, "Light the Fire Within."

"The materials in the torch represent ideals of the Olympic games. Glass represents winter and nature as well as ice and purity. High-polish silver represented modern technology. Aged silver finish stands for the heritage, traditions and heirlooms of the West. Copper represents the fire, warmth and passion of Utah's history," reads information from the Web site.

The torch will travel over 13,500 miles across the country and will be carried by roughly 11,500 torchbearers, including 14 Carson City residents. Over 210,000 torchbearers were nominated nationwide through a process which asked people in a 50-to-100 word essay home the nominees "embodied the Olympic spirit and provided inspiration to their communities."

Each torchbearer will carry their individual torch for about one quarter of a mile and will have the opportunity to purchase their torch. Minus the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii, the torch will travel through every state and 125 cities before it reaches the the Salt Lake Olympic Stadium on Feb. 8. The games end Feb. 24.

The torch began its journey to the United States from the Olympia, Greece flame on Nov. 19, 2001. It started its cross country tour Dec. 4 from Atlanta, Ga., the site of the 1996 summer Olympics. The flame is ignited each day from a lantern containing the Olympic Flame. Web site information notes the torch will travel by foot 17 percent of the time and by plane, train, automobile, dogsled, sleigh, snowmobile, ice skater, prairie schooner and other means the rest of its trip. Today, the torch is in Kansas City, Mo., and will end its average daily journey of 208 miles in Omaha, Neb.

The torch will head to Reno and Sparks after it leaves Carson City before heading for its next stop in Portland, Ore. Carson City will host a gathering at the Community Center during a 15-minute break in the relay on Jan. 21.

The Olympic Torch will arrive in Carson City on Jan. 21 at 7:50 a.m. The Nevada Appeal will feature Carson City's 14 torch bearers through Jan. 20. Follow the torch's path at www.slc2002.org.


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