2010 Olympic Torch Relay – Portsmouth Harbour

By Bryan • canada, Kingston, photography, sports • 16 Dec 2009

This will be my second Olympic Torch experience and I find that rather odd given that I’m can be indifferent regarding Torch relays.  Yet the flame keeps stalking me…

First, it was Nanjing, city of 6 million….right past my apartment accompanied by 500,000 screaming well-wishers.

Now it’s tiny Kingston…this time it is on a boat, but it still manages to swipe right past my apartment…I swear, it’s out to get me.

The 2010 Torch…floating it’s way into Portsmouth Harbour, site of the 1976 Summer Olympic sailing events.

I must say…one Torch relay is not like another.  While the international portion of the 2008 games could politely be called a disaster, the domestic legs brought out the best in authoritarian organizational guile.  500,000 people perfectly lined the designated streets of Nanjing as early as 6am in early 2008, all in the appropriate colours and pre-approved paraphernalia (apparently sponsored Coke) and bused in from surrounding campuses for an 11am Torch arrival.  Bigger than Mao and Deng combined is the phrase I would use. 

Not really keeping up with Torch news that year, I had completely forgot that that day was Torch day, and the big cross-town four lane street near my apartment was part of the relay.  Completely oblivious, I stumbled out of my apartment in search of breakfast and a cab to work and fell directly into a storm of Torch craziness.

I didn’t find breakfast or a cab, was late for work and scuffed my shoes. 

That silly Torch, but it apparently wasn’t finished with me yet.

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Contrast that to Portsmouth Harbour, 6:43am 15 December 2010.  A few hard-core Torch fans, a handful of folks who missed the downtown Torch arrival yesterday afternoon and people like myself who just happen to be in the way crowded (kind of a relative term) on the the piers of the harbour as the Torch sailed out into Lake Ontario, fired itself up and sailed back into the harbour.

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There is a funny thing about a Torch relay…

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…if one finds themselves right smack in the middle of all PR…

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…in the centre of a disorganized democratic mess…

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…and actually ends up jogging a bit with the crowd and the Torch as it continues its journey…  

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…without any security…

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…and a bare minimum of harmony crowd control specialists/VANOC micro-managers…

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…it can make one pretty happy and surprisingly proud.

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Torch groupie :-p

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3 Responses

  1. Sue Crosby

    Just think, if you stay in Mac until Jan 30 you’ll get to see it again!!

  2. Sue Crosby

    oops! I mean………..so IT can see YOU again!

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