Olympic hopeful lighting cauldron in Port Hardy

PORT HARDY - Local gymnastics star and 2012 Olympic hopeful Brittany Falconer has been selected as Port Hardy’s final torch bearer and is looking forward to lighting the local Olympic cauldron Tues., Feb. 2 at the Civic Centre.

Brittany Falconer

Brittany Falconer

Gazette staff

PORT HARDY – Local gymnastics star and 2012 Olympic hopeful Brittany Falconer has been selected as Port Hardy’s final torch bearer and is looking forward to lighting the local Olympic cauldron Tues., Feb. 2 at the Civic Centre.

“I am honoured to be the torch bearer for the lighting ceremony as part of the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay in my home town of Port Hardy,” says Falconer, who started her career five years ago in Port Hardy at Funtastic Gymnastics and Trampoline Centre under coach and mom Heidi Mathieson.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a role model and mentor to younger athletes, and enjoy spending my free time as a volunteer coach for aspiring gymnasts,” says Falconer. “I personally feel that being a supportive role model and mentor is paramount to the success of our future athletes and to the sport that I love.”

A lengthy process that looked at many potential honorees named Falconer as Port Hardy’s official torch bearer.

“Celebration communities are not allowed to run contests or ask for community nominations,” explains Mayor Bev Parnham. “It is up to the individual communities’ Olympic Torch Relay Committees to identify and choose candidates for this process. This was very difficult, as our region has many community champions and outstanding role models and we could choose only one.

“The Torch Relay Committee chose Brittany because she exemplifies the Olympic spirit and motto of ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger,’” continues Parnham. “Her athleticism, combined with her determination to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, make her a shining example of what can be achieved by hard work and determination.”

Falconer, now 19, has been a competitive trampolinist for five years, a member of Team BC’s trampoline team for three seasons, has successfully competed in both the National Gymnastics Championships and Canada Cup and is currently one of the highest jumping females in B.C.

Falconer is ranked third in trampoline in the open women’s category, after the May 2009 Canadian National Championships in Hamilton, Ontario. In her first competition in 2010, Falconer earned a gold and a bronze.

Falconer trains year-round in Kelowna, B.C., where coach Angelo Despotas is “very pleased” with the commitment she has made to the sport. “I know how excited she is to be a torch bearer and she deserves it,” said Despotas.

Other torch bearers include the North Island Eagles peewee rep hockey team, which includes young hockey players from many communities in our region, and torch bearers from numerous Island communities who were chosen to run in Port Hardy by relay sponsors at RBC and Coca-Cola.

Lists of torch bearers are available on RBC and Coca-Cola websites. The Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has determined the route, much of the community celebration programming, and the selection of torch bearers.

“I congratulate Brittany on the opportunity to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime event,” concludes Mayor Parnham. “She represents the true spirit of our community in her commitment to sport and in her volunteer efforts to promote gymnastics to the next generation of Canadian athletes. I look forward to cheering Brittany on as she carries the torch and as she pursues her dreams of representing Canada in 2012.”

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