Running for the prize… well, at least carrying something that will symbolize the prize…
Proud bearers of the Olympic flame
By Lisa Smith
New Zealand’s Woman’s Weekly – June 5, 2000
Next week, 300 New Zealanders will proudly carry the Olympic flame as it makes its way on its 60,000km journey from Greece to Sydney through the Pacific for the Games in September.
It’s the first time the torch, which has burned at Olympic Games since 1928, has been to New Zealand and also the first time it’s been in a relay outside the host country.
The torchbearers, who include sportspeople, celebrities, politicians and members of the community were chosen from nominations in three categories of living, local and future legends.
Sponsored by Air New Zealand and the Millenium Office, the flame will be dropped off by helicopter on Queenstown’s Coronet Peak on 5 June before travelling by ski, mountain bike, horseback, wheelchair and on foot through Christchurch, Wellington, Rotorua and Auckland on its three day journey. The bearers will carry it for between 300 and 500m.
We spoke to 10 of the torch bearers about their special duty.
Ryan Pearce (17), Christchurch
Wilhemina (Madge) Mason (100), Queenstown
Mathew Butson (26), Wanaka
Marie Ward (58), Wellington
Craig Jones (30), Wellington
Caroline Ferguson (18), Auckland
Peter Jackson (38), Wellington
Top movie director Peter Jackson has been flat out filming the Lord Of The Rings trilogy for the past few months but he’s not about to miss the chance to carry the Olympic torch through Wellington. “He’s so absolutely honoured to be involved that he’s stopping production on the day especially so he can go and carry the torch,” says a spokeswoman for the producer, whose list of credits includes Heavenly Creatures and The Frighteners.
“He hasn’t stopped production for anything for the last few months and won’t be doing it again until filming has finished so that shows you how excited he is.”
Annelise Coberger (28), Wellington
Todd Blackadder (28), Christchurch
Neroli Fairhall (54), Christchurch