By Christopher Poon
Olympic Alpine Skier Kelly VanderBeek was one of 50 torchbearers to carry the Olympic Flame through New Westminster on Tuesday.
Vanderbeek represented Canada in the Torino 2006 Winter Games, and was set to do so again in the 2010 games if not for a season-ending injury this past December.
“I severed the PCL, the MCL and I had a fracture in my tibial plateau,” said Vanderbeek as she prepared for her torch carry. “And I knew right away that was the end of my Olympic competing.”
VanderBeek admits she was upset, saying “It’s hard to get injured any time, and so to know that I was going to miss out on competing at the home Olympics was sad.”
However, a ray of light came in the form of a phone call shortly afterwards.
John Furlong called her two days later and, since it was so close to the Games there were just a few openings left on the torch relay.
“He said, ‘Do you want it?’ and I jumped at the opportunity.”
Due to her injury, Vanderbeek carried the torch while riding a wheelchair, but nonetheless enjoyed the experience.
“It was really an honour to be able to carry the torch. It’s just a special event to be a part of.”
Vanderbeek will also be in Whistler for the duration of the Games, acting as an alpine correspondent for CTV.