She bore the torch, shed a tear and brought back a slideshow. But support, she said, was lacking.
A few weeks back from the Beijing Paralympics, Sarah Tipler wheeled into Squamish council chambers to impart the meat of her experience.
“Every overpass, every light post or construction site had the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) logo somewhere on it,” Tipler said during a council strategy session. “As a result of that, the community was really behind it.”
Along with Brad Lennea, Tipler was chosen by the Sea to Sky Paralympic Torchbearer Selection Committee to represent the corridor in Beijing last month. The experience was rich, she said, from the people to the monuments, the Games to the facilities.
The meat was there, she continued, but the bones were just a little bit frail. She was short on pins and logos, and, though Councillor Patricia Heintzman was acknowledged as a key and crucial supporter, that front was generally lacking.
“I don’t think any of us knew you were picked,” said Councillor Corinne Lonsdale. “Maybe this is something where we need to figure out a kind of protocol.”
Tipler framed her trip as a lost opportunity in marketing. In a city of 15 million, with a welcome mat rolled across the world, the chance to vaunt Squamish was significant.
“It’s an easy one,” Tipler said. “Just free gear to hand out.”