The Olympic torch


I can hardly believe it has been 20 years since 12 of us Fayette Countians were privileged to carry the Olympic Torch through our beloved county.

Atlanta Olympic organizer, Billy Payne, sent out the word that he thought those chosen would be chosen for their contributions to their community, and you will find that was the case.

We sent in a request for consideration in February and were promptly notified if we were chosen and I was one of those selected.

At a meeting in Atlanta I learned to my dismay, we would have to “march” in whatever town or city we were appointed to. I was mortified – traveling to south Georgia, for instance, is not quite what I had in mind.

The torch run was coming through Peachtree City and Fayetteville and Fayetteville was also wanting to christen the water fountain and park it had just created on the courthouse square.

I had passed along my anxiety at not having been notified as to where the community was I should be at to anyone who would listen. Three weeks before running through Fayetteville, our city officials asked the Olympic folks if they could stop in Fayetteville for 15 minutes at our new fountain site and also could Carolyn Cary be the one to carry the torch up on the stage of the fountain.

At first they said no to the stopping for 15 minutes, but it would be O. K. for me to carry the torch through town. Hurray!

At the last minute the Olympic committee said they would use Fayetteville for an official stop and the city could have its 15 minutes. Another hurray!

The temperature had been in the high 90s for several weeks and remained there for this event. In your excitement you barely noticed.

The Olympic torch was “invented,” I don’t know the correct word here, by our very own Georgia Tech. It was metal on the top and bottom parts and wooden in the middle. All the wood was Georgia pecan wood. If you wished to purchase the one you would be using, the price was $250 and yes, I still have my canceled check for mine.

There was just a couple minutes of whatever type gas was inside the torch and because it would be 15 minutes before I would be lighting the torch of the next person, mine was used to light another torch and then I relighted mine to pass off to General Bill Livsey.

Brenda Torchbush was the person passing off the lighting to me. The torch light from Greece was never allowed to go out.

Of course, the torch lighting was in Atlanta by the next day and the rest has been told in regards to a recent funeral.

Now I have two children and one Olympic torch. I have books and paintings I can divvy up between them with no problem. One Olympic torch would be a problem which we easily settled by temporarily donating it to Fayette County. It sits somewhere in a case along with the names of all 12 of the county citizens chosen to honor Fayette County, Georgia, the United States and the world.