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.