Writing Fellows manager Janet Peters was an Olympic torchbearer

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Fun fact: the flame that Janet passed along eventually made its way to Muhammad Ali.


In 2002, 12,012 Olympic torchbearers carried a single flame across 13,500 miles. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Winter Torch relay, torchbearers weaved their way through 46 states for 65 days. It even has its own Wikipedia page. Janet Peters remembers these details, and many more painstaking ones, because she has the relay map on the back of a t-shirt.

Janet, who impressively juggles managing the Writing Center, the Writing Fellows Program, Excellence at Brown, and other academic tutoring programs, was one of the 12,012 to helped the flame travel across the world to Salt Lake City. The tradition of the torch relay that makes places over a few months before each Olympics began in 1936 at the summer games in Berlin. The torch is lit by the sun using a parabolic mirror at the site of the original Olympics, in Olympia, Greece, at the Temple of Hera, which is quite cool. It is then carried a bit through Greece before making its journey to the country of that year’s Olympic games, the flame being passed from torchbearer to torchbearer, until the final carrier runs toward the cauldron and lights the official Olympic flame atop a grand staircase.

We interviewed Janet to get the scoop on her experience and what it’s like to now have an Olympic torch in her house.

As your “salient fact” at the Writing Fellows retreat last month, you very casually noted that you were a torchbearer in the 2002 Olympics. What was your exact role?

It was the torch relay, so I ran a leg of it, which is a third of a mile. The flame has to remain lit from its journey, at that time, from Olympia, Greece to Salt Lake City.

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Ways to get hyped for Sochi 2014, even if you hate sports

"So mysterious to meeeeee"

“So mysterious to meeeeee”

It feels like just yesterday that Ryan Lochte and his grill swam their way into our hearts, but, it’s time once again to rally around a new pantheon of athletic demigods. Sochi 2014 has been a long time coming, and, unless you have been living adrift on an ice flow, you have been hearing about the trials and tribulations leading up to this round of winter games.

There are a lot of us who don’t necessarily relate to the Olympics. The peak of our athletic careers consisted of four days in middle school when we were really excited about Wii Fit. We watch the Parade of Nations…for the fashion. The only thing we really remember about London 2012 is Tom Daley’s abs. Trust me; I get it. However, the Olympics are about more than just sports – they are about all sorts of things that Brown students love, like multiculturalism, community, and being really cold all the time. If you are someone who doesn’t like sports, here are a few ways that you can stay up-to-date and get into the Sochi spirit. Continue Reading

Alums who do cool things: Dow Travers ’12, Olympic Skier and Biodiesel Visionary

2010 Vancouver Winter OlympicsWhen you Google the Cayman Islands, you typically find images of sandy beaches, clear water, and all types of aquatic life–not snow-covered mountains. With a story that slightly resembles that of Cool Runnings, Dow Travers ’12 is skiing in his second Winter Olympics for the Cayman Islands. Dow has skied for his home country in races throughout the world, and he will be competing this year in Sochi. On top of being an Olympic athlete, he also played Rugby while at Brown, and is a member of the Cayman Islands squad in that sport as well. If that isn’t impressive enough, Dow has started his own company called Island Biodiesel that hopes to make the Cayman Islands more fuel independent while simultaneously reducing the territory’s carbon footprint. Despite being busy preparing for the games, Dow was gracious enough to answer our questions about skiing, his life at Brown, and just what exactly happens in the Olympic Village.

BlogDailyHerald: What was it like growing up in the Cayman Islands?

Dow Travers ’12: Cayman’s a wonderful place to grow up. Everyone is very friendly and the sun is always shinning.

BlogDH: How did you first get involved in skiing?

Dow: I started skiing when I was fairly young on family vacations in Colorado but I didn’t start racing until I went to a ski camp in France when I was about 14. Ever since then it was a hunt for snow. However, I only managed to ski about two weeks a year while I was in high school which did not allow me to be very competitive, but once I graduated when I was 19 I was able to spend some more time on the slopes. So really I was a very late starter.

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Shit We Love: The Olympics

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post said that the inflatable Lord Voldemort He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named featured in the Opening Ceremony was 40 feet tall. He actually stood at a whopping 100 feet tall. We blame this first error on an unconscious refusal to believe that Voldemort could be larger than life.

Every four years, the world stops. The entire human race directs its attention toward a city in which athletes from all corners of the Earth (including Brown) battle it out to be considered the best in the world. Some leave with soaring egos; others leave with their hopes shattered and their dreams crushed. For 17 days, every major US television network apart from NBC might as well not exist. Simply put, we love this shit.

Why? For one, Team USA is stacked, runs deep, and boasts hundreds of insanely talented (and beautiful) athletes across dozens of sports. There’s nothing more invigorating than cheering on American athletes who are way more talented than we’ll ever be… or rooting against others who try stand in their way. Here are some more reasons why we just eat this shit up.

Eye Candy: It should come as a surprise to exactly no one that lots of athletes are pretty damn attractive. Sure, it would be fun to watch insane gymnastics stunts and nail-bitingly close swimming races regardless of what the competitors look like, but the fact that many of them are gorgeous is definitely an added benefit. Like Ryan Lochte, for example. He may not be as decorated as Michael Phelps, and he’s not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’s basically the personification of the word “hot” (#shamelessobjectification). And then there’s British diver Tom Daley — don’t worry, at 18 years old, he’s legal (but just barely). And we can’t forget about the women, many of them in uniforms that leave little to the imagination. Continue Reading

Brunonians going for the gold

The London 2012 Olympics kick off tonight with a Shakespeare-inspired, Danny Boyle-directed spectacle. Some of y’all might have already made plans to watch the Opening Ceremony and drool over Ryan Lochte, but here’s another reason to tune in: two Brunonians will be reppin’ our school in London this summer. Craig Kinsley ’11 is a javelin thrower for the U.S. track and field team, and Nikola Stojic ’97 will be making his fourth appearance at the Olympics as a member of Serbia’s men’s rowing team.

We wish them both luck in their respective events! As for the rest of us

Norway wears the pants

If you think that guy wearing chainmail in your 9 a.m. biology class has an interesting fashion sense, wait until you see the pants on the Norwegian Olympic Curling Team. The brainchild of Scott Woodworth ’82, these Argyle knickers caused a red, white and blue stir the world over as the team vacuumed — er — curled its way to a silver medal on Feb. 27 in Vancouver.Curling

Woodworth designed the outlandish pantaloons for his company, Loudmouth Golf, which he founded in 2000. The Norwegian team apparently saw Woodworth’s Web site and ordered pants in the country’s colors. And though the team didn’t snag gold from the boringly black-pants clad Canadian powerhouse, at least the Norwegians did it with more style.

Take that, chainmail dude.