Hundreds of North Bay Students, police officers, local celebrities and yes, an Olympic Gold Medallist, made the 3 kilometer trek from Police Headquarters on Princess Street down to the Waterfront Bandshell on a sunny Tuesday morning as part of the Special Olympic Torch run.
Canadian Olympic Gold Medal Curler Brad Jacobs, who hails from Sault Ste. Marie, took part in the run and then signed autographs during a BBQ, hosted by Burgerworld, behind police headquarters after the run.
Despite a whirlwind of events across the country, Jacobs says it was pretty easy to accept the invitation by a pair of Sault Ste. Marie officers to particpate in the Torch Run.
“There are a lot of media obligations and appearance obligations, but the schedule is very well planned out right now and this fit in really nicely,” said Jacobs after signing a number of autographs for students at the Police BBQ.
“It’s one of those things that is a part of post Olympic Games and coming off a gold medal and being successful, really it’s all very new to myself and our team, we are just taking it one day at a time, going with the flow and learning as much as we can," added Jacobs.
"You know what it’s really nice to go out and see all the people because lots of people want to come up to us and congratulate us and tell us how proud they were and obviously see the gold medal.”
Event organizer Merv Shantz was impressed, but not surprised at the large turnout for Tuesday's Torch Run.
“Soon as they see gold medal that gets a lot of interest once we notified the schools many were on board to come,” said Shantz about the more than 200 students who attended the event.
With the community hosting the 2015 Ontario Special Olympics, Shantz believes today's turnout and Golden guest, made for a perfect day.
"As law enforcement officers we participate in the torch run every year and through that we promote awareness for Special Olympics in our local communities, but this year is a special year because we are getting the provincial winter games next January so it’s an even bigger and better year for us. “
Other celebrities who took part in the run were North Bay's Matt Marquardt, who finished a successful season with the AHL's Charlotte Checkers, and North Bay Mayor Al McDonald.
(Canadian Olympic Gold Medal Curler Brad Jacobs signs some autographs as part of events connected to Tuesday's Special Olympics Torch Run. PHOTO BY CHRIS DAWSON.)