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2 Former Olympians Begin Torch Relay Toward Games

November 17, 1987|Associated Press

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland — Former Olympians Barbara Ann Scott-King, 59, and Ferd Hayward, 76, shared the honor of being the first to bear the Olympic flame during the opening of the cross-Canada torch relay today.

Scott-King, a former figure skater, and Hayward, a race walker, smiled and waved to cheering bystanders as they walked the first half-mile of the 11,250-mile relay that will end in Calgary on Feb. 13.

"I'm so thrilled," said an elated Scott-King, a gold medal winner in 1948 at the Olympic Winter Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Hayward, who competed in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki at the age of 41, was equally delighted.

"I just hope nobody pinches me, I don't want to wake up," said Hayward, who had tears in his eyes.

The identities of the first torchbearers were kept secret until today's opening ceremony on top of historic Signal Hill in St. John's.

Amid swirling snow and freezing temperatures, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney lit the Olympic caldron with the flame that had been fired by the sun's rays a few days earlier in Olympia, Greece.

The flame will cross each province and territory before reaching Calgary and will travel on snowmobiles, wheelchairs, planes, skis and even dog sleds as 6,820 Canadians take part in bringing the torch across Canada.

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