Wilson Remembers Chills From First Time Olympic Torch Came Into View
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ To Dave Wilson, his moments carrying the Olympic torch is a chance at being a kid again.
Torch bearer No. 49 picks up the torch this morning 22 years after his own moment of Olympic glory as the silver medalist in the 100-meter backstroke in 1984. He also won a gold in the 400-meter medley.
``My goal here is just to take my time and enjoy every moment,″ Wilson said. ``My goal in 1984 was certainly not to take my time but to get from one end of the pool to the other as fast as I can.″
The Olympic torch entered Tennessee Wednesday from the Carolinas and spent the night in Knoxville before being moved to Nashville Thursday night.
The torch spent Thursday night being guarded by Georgia State Patrol troopers at the edge of Vanderbilt University.
This morning, 15-year-old Donald Roig of Camden, Tenn., started Day 63 of the relay cheered on by 100 people who wanted to see the torch before going to work.
One woman was supposed to be at work at the time the relay resumed at 7 a.m. CDT, and she said she would just be a few minutes late.
``I figured this is a once in a lifetime opportunity,″ said the woman, who declined to give her name.
People lined the streets of the route up to an hour before the torch was expected to pass by, and they passed the time sipping coffee and eating breakfast.
``Honestly, I got chills,″ said Jodie Greer of Nashville after seeing the torch go by.
Today’s relay included scheduled stops in the Nashville suburbs of Brentwood and Franklin before moving to Eagleville, Rover, Unionville, Shelbyville, Fayetteville and Park City before crossing into Alabama on its way toward Huntsville.
Wilson was too busy training, eating and sleeping when the Olympic torch passed through the United States en route to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
He does remember the mystery of who would carry the torch up the last steps and light the Olympic flame for the Los Angeles Games. Rafer Johnson was the surprise torch bearer.
``You can kind of emotionally get prepared for it, but when you see it, it’s beyond your expectations it’s so exciting,″ Wilson said.
Being an Olympian improved his chances at being picked to carry the torch. Wilson wanted to be a torch runner when he first heard about the torch relay and wondered how he could be included when the U.S. Olympic Committee called.
``Being on an Olympic team once is a once in a lifetime opportunity, but I also think running the torch is a once in a lifetime opportunity,″ he said. ``I’m blessed to have both of the opportunities.″