"I was running for all of the single dads and people who volunteer in their communities." Lawrence Schuler proudly poses in front of City Hall with the Olympic Torch he carried on a leg through Bremerton.
Photo by Eric Oquist/Woodinville Weekly.
by Jeff Switzer
Monroe's 15-year-old John McKanna had probably the biggest role in Washington State's Olympic Torch procession: He lit the cauldron at the Seattle Center that started the Space Needle fireworks show.
McKanna had been nominated by his peers and his athletic coach at Bellevue Christian High School, where he is a sophomore. Born with spinal bifida, he is involved in many sports, including track and field (javelin, discus, and shot put), swimming, mono-skiing, and wheelchair racing.
The torch was passed on to McKanna near the Key Arena, where he did one lap and lit the cauldron, keying the fireworks.
"I missed the fireworks, but I saw it on the news," McKanna said. When asked what stories he'll tell his grandchildren about the experience, he replied, "I'll show them instead." He has purchased a commemorative torch which he plans to put on display at Bellevue Christian High School until he graduates.
McKanna's mom, Cathy, was on hand for the ceremony, but left the pictures to friends while she absorbed the moment. "I thought it was fabulous," said Cathy McKanna. "The crowd of people coming together made for a great event."
Schuler ran the Olympic torch through Bremerton
Woodinville's Lawrence Schuler ran a mostly-uphill leg through Bremerton on the Olympic torch's journey through the Evergreen State.
"I would remind myself that I was running for all of the single dads and people who volunteer in their communities. There are some deadbeat dads out there, but there are also some good ones," Schuler said.
"And I was also running for the town of Woodinville. Afterwards, people would gather around to see the torch, and I let them hold it and get pictures taken with it so everyone could share it. It reminded me of the togetherness and the feeling of how special the Olympics are," Schuler added, "regardless of all of the commercialism, it still has the spirit intact."
Schuler also rode in the Olympic Torch van along with four gold medalists from the 1972 Munich games, who related their stories about the terrorists during that event.
Like McKanna, Schuler bought the replica torch as a memento of his role, and is thinking about putting it on display somewhere in the community, possibly at City Hall, for all to enjoy.