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London Olympics: Ducks' Saku Koivu gets a turn with Olympic torch

July 24, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Saku Koivu gets his turn with the Olympic torch.
Saku Koivu gets his turn with the Olympic torch. (RDS )

LONDON -- Hockey weather, it was not.

Of course, it ended up the hottest day of the year in the area -- thus far -- when Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu had his turn with the Olympic torch, running through Hillingdon. This was Day 67 of the torch's journey, leading up to the start of the Summer Games.

Koivu probably would have been thrilled to run in rain. The  Finn, who is an IOC member, called Tuesday's adventure "an unbelievable experience."

Koivu has competed in four Winter Olympics with the best result coming in 2006 when Finland won the silver. His run brought back plenty of memories.

"There were thousands and thousands of people on the side of the road just to see and try and touch the torch," he said later on Tuesday. "As I was jogging with it, I was thinking about the first time I saw the Olympic flame live in 1994 at the Lillehammer Games.

"It brought back all the memories of the four times I was lucky enough to play in the Olympic Games. But today was different, because when we play hockey at the Olympics, you are really focused on the game, and the schedule is very compact. So, I hadn’t had a chance to really take everything in.

"Today was more of a chance to feel the excitement the people have about the overall Olympic experience. It was such an honor to carry the torch. I will never forget it."

He has been a member of the IOC's Athletes' Commission since 2004. Interestingly enough, another hockey-playing member of the commission also ran with the torch on Tuesday, Valley native Angela Ruggiero, a four-time Olympian. Ruggiero carried the flame through the London borough of Richmond upon Thames.

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