By Jon Robinson
UPDATED Feb. 11: Twenty-six hours before the first event of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, George Kallas, President of Vancouver-based Metropolitan Fine Printers, carried the flame through Burnaby toward opening ceremonies at BC Place.
While ski jumping qualification is scheduled to begin this Friday at 1:00 pm, the opening ceremony of the 2010 Olympics is set for a few hours later at 9:00 pm (EST). Organizers have not yet named who will officially light the Olympic flame in the stadium, with speculation centering on Wayne Gretzky, Rick Hanson, or family members of Terry Fox.
George Kallas has been a major part of the Vancouver Olympics initiative for several years now, beginning with Metropolitan’s printing of the official Vancouver bid book back in 2004. In October 2009, Kallas traveled to his birth country of Greece, as part of the Governor General of Canada’s delegation, for the official flame handover at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens.
A few days later, the Olympic flame arrived in Canada and began the longest domestic Torch Relay in Olympic history, reaching 1,030 communities on a 106-day journey across the country – 45,000 kilometres. A total of over 12,000 torchbearers will have participated by the time the flame reaches its destination.
Kallas – torchbearer number OTR105-092 – will start his Thursday 11:00 am run at 6875 Aubrey Street in Burnaby and carry the flame along Sperling Street, ending at Charles Street.
The torch’s progress can be followed live on CTV’s Website.
UPDATE: Photo of Kallas bearing the torch, courtesy of CTV’s web video feed: