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Feature - Whistler’s Winter Olympians

The greatest show on snow, from an athlete's perspective

"May the world be delivered from crime and killing and freed from the clash of arms."

— Sacred truce beginning the first known Olympic Games

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"The goal of the Olympic movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play."

— The Olympic Charter

"In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

— Athlete's Oath

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well."

— Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, composer of athlete’s oath.

While rescuers searched through the ashes and debris in New York City for human remains and television sets around the world were glued into the war on terrorism last fall, a curved mirror lit the Olympic torch at the sacred Temple of Hera outside of the ancient city of Athens.

The torch travelled across the Atlantic Ocean and made a journey through the U.S., stopping in 46 states. It travelled to New York City, where it was carried into the city by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. It travelled to Washington, D.C., where it was met by the president and carried by members of Congress and the Senate. It even went as far as Alaska, where it was met by local dignitaries and athletes who have participated in past Games.

Thousands of people took part in the procession as it came through their towns and cities, each carrying it for about a quarter of a mile before handing it off to the next bearer. Aided by motorized vehicles in the more under-populated areas, it travelled over 200 miles a day.

On Feb. 8, it finally arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the opening of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

It was passed around some more within the stadium, from one Winter Olympic hero to the next, before the victorious 1980 U.S. men’s hockey team, the "Miracle on Ice," finally took it the rest of the way and ignited the cauldron that stands over the Olympic Stadium.

There the Olympic flame will burn until the closing ceremonies on Feb. 23, the defining symbol of an event that is rich with symbolism. The flame in that cauldron is a symbol of "The Fire Within," which also happens to be the motto of the 2002 Winter Games.

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