By Melissa Iafrate
(TORONTO, ON) – Olympian Simon Whitfield joins a Canadian forces veteran, a Toronto Police Service’s officer, and a music-loving teen in being named the first torchbearers to carry the flame in the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay.
Today, the Toronto 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) and its relay partners announced 10 torchbearers, and unveiled the torch and torchbearer uniform.
Joining Whitfield among the relay’s 3,000 torchbearers will be Pat Israel (63), Michael Crawford (51), Cameron Sault (28), Bob Cassels (74), Tanisha Martinez (22), Francis Atta (28), Melanie Byland (29), Zsofia Balazs (24), and Denzel Innis (17).
“The torch is a unique symbol of the Pan Am Games and carries a powerful energy that will unite Canadians,” said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. “The torchbearers will proudly carry the flame through more than 130 communities, igniting the Pan Am spirit as they go.”
Featured on the torch are the colourful United We Play pictograms, depictions of people in motion, symbolizing the assembly of athletes through the celebration of sport and culture.
The aluminum torch stands 65 centimetres high and weighs 1.2 kilograms. With a burn time of 10 to 12 minutes, the flame can withstand winds of up to 70 kph and is visible in all kinds of weather conditions.
“A torch relay is powerful and patriotic,” said Simon Whitfield, Olympic gold and silver medallist and Pan Am bronze medallist. “I’m looking forward to that moment as it truly is an honour to represent my community and Canada.”
During the 41-day torch relay, each of the 3,000 torchbearers will complete, on average, a 200-metre relay segment. The torch will be carried by more than 60 modes of transportation and exceed 5,000 kilometres on the road and 15,000 kilometres by air.
“When the torchbearers carry the flame through our great city, they will ignite a sense of pride and community in the lead up to the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games,” said Toronto mayor, John Tory. “I encourage all Torontonians, to come out and cheer on the torchbearers and share in the experience.”