Several thousand had the opportunity to enjoy watching Friday’s Olympic Torch Relay as it passed through the City of Brandon and for at least one Brandon resident, the chance to light the cauldron in the Keystone Centre was a chance of a lifetime.
Known for his volunteerism and dedication to local sports, Bernie Chrisp was the surprise torchbearer chosen to take the Olympic flame to the stage for Brandon’s relay celebration.
A former Chairman of the Special Olympics Canada Summer Games, Chrisp currently serves as the Support Services manager for the 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup.
“Oh gosh, it was just amazing to see all the people here. Everybody’s so excited,” Chrisp told Jillian Austin of the Brandon Sun on Friday night. “I think my heart just skipped a beat when I came in the building.”
Using the criteria of a non-political candidate who is community minded, with a volunteer background and recognized in the sports community, it wasn’t difficult for the local Olympic Torch Relay committee to pass the torch on to Chrisp.
“I really appreciate the honour to do it in our fine city of Brandon,” Chrisp told the Sun. “It was an unbelievable experience and one that I will cherish forever.”
In addition to his duties with the MasterCard Memorial Cup and Special Olympics Canada, he has served as Vice President of athlete services for the 1997 Canada Summer Games and co-chair of the Safeway Select Manitoba Curling Championships.
While over two thousand packed the Manitoba Room to witness the celebration in person on Friday, a “live feed” of the event was available on the new Video Scoreboard inside Westman Place, allowing many more to see it. A crowd of over 4,500 fans turned out to see Friday’s Western Hockey League game between the Wheat Kings and visiting Medicine Hat Tigers.
The 2010 MasterCard Memorial Cup is scheduled for May 14-23rd in Brandon’s Keystone Centre, marking the first time ever that the 4-team Championship has been hosted in Manitoba