Sturdy Tahoe legs for Olympic flame
Parents Marshall and Linda Matzinger couldn’t be more proud of their teen-age son Adam, who was selected as one of 19 South Shore residents deemed with the high honor of carrying the 2002 Olympic torch on its run through South Lake Tahoe Jan. 20.
On Thursday, representatives from Coca-Cola, Chevrolet and the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee spearheading the Winter Games in February staged a nationwide announcement on the steps of the Utah Capitol to reveal the 11,500 relay runners. More than 210,000 nominees were considered.
The young high achiever’s credits encompass a sampling of community inspiration and activism.
“Adam Matzinger earned the rank of Eagle Scout on May 23, 2000. Through Scouts, Adam participated in many community service actions, including food drives, community cleanup projects, Memorial Day services, hiking trail maintenance, and provided leadership to other members of his Scout Troop in the construction of his Eagle Project, a wood picnic table. As a scout, Adam became a leader of and is a role model to the other scouts. He has been elected most inspirational in two different high school sports teams and was elected captain on another while maintaining a 3.57 grade point average,” Marshall wrote when he nominated his son.
The torch relay runners consist of all classes and types on the South Shore. We have a teen with the maturity of an adult, and then some. And, we have an adult who says she will never grow up.
BMX rider Lauren Thomaselli, who was nominated by her sister, Linda, said the selection represents a “huge honor on behalf of those who inspire me.” She instantly thought of her children and husband, who support her young-at-heart endeavor.
“You know Mom, you could jump that,” Thomaselli recalled her 10-year-old son telling her about a BMX bike maneuver.
Marcia Sarosik, the city’s nominee, may dance her way through South Lake Tahoe with the torch in hand.
Jan. 20 is her birthday.
“This is very humbling to me,” said Sarosik, who runs a dance studio. “I feel like I’m sharing it with all of the kids I’ve ever taught.”
When Adam, Thomaselli, Sarosik and the other torchbearers complete their two-tenths-of-a-mile responsibility, the symbol of unity, peace and human expression will make its way to Squaw Valley – home of the 1960 Olympic Games.
Along with the runners, the torch will be carried via air, train, ship, snowmobile, horse-drawn sleigh and even dog sled. It’s the first time the torch will cover Alaska on its 13,500-mile trip that starts in Athens, Greece.
The ceremony was postponed by the Salt Lake organizing committee from Sept. 12, after the terrorist attack quelled any enthusiasm or altruism Americans may have shared with the rest of the world at that time.
Now, the committee hopes the exhilaration over the Games will build again, opening ticket sales to another 70,000 in a variety of winter sports events such as figure skating, downhill skiing and hockey.
SLOC President Mitt Romney made it clear the games will go on, despite the war abroad being waged by the United States on terrorism.
“We believe the Olympic torch relay has a deeper sense of meaning after the events of Sept. 11,” Romney said in a statement. “We will link the torch relay to the tragedy by naming 100 torchbearers to represent the heroes of Sept. 11.”
– Jill Darby contributed to this report.
South Shore torch relay runners
Doug and Valerie Smith
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