Dragon boat to carry the Olympic Torch!
The last day of the Olympic Torch Relay Feb 12th will feature Dragon Boats and Canoes as Olympic gold medalist Hugh Fisher, from a dragonboat, will hand off the torch to Kamini Jain, in a voyageur canoe, in the middle of False Creek. This event will take place on February 12th in Vancouver BC. Details and exact times will be released soon.
Fisher won Olympic Gold and Bronze with Kayak partner Alwyn Morris at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Kamini Jain competed in K-1 single kayak events in 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. Fisher is one of the founders of the False Creek Racing Canoe Club which has helped to shape dragon boat racing in Canada and also influence it's development in North America.
Kamini is the current head coach of the FCRCC, and took the Mixed team to gold and silver in Sydney Australia for the 2007 IDBF World Championships. FCRCC-cored Premier Mixed: 2nd at 500m (by 0.51 secs!), 4th at 200, 1st at 2K
It's going to be exciting as 6 dragon boats (20 paddlers) and 6 outrigger canoes (6 paddlers) make up the escort flotilla, that will accompany the torch bearing boats. It will bring back memories of the torch first arriving in Canada after landing at the airfield, and then arriving to BC's Provincial Legislature Building in Victoria, carried by First Nations cedar canoes.
And I will be one of the paddlers in the flotilla! Yippee!
Here's the Gung Haggis Fat Choy
dragon boat team at the 2009 Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. One
of these BuK boats will probably be used to transport the Olympic Torch
in the final legs of the relay to the Opening Ceremonies at BC Place
The six dragon boats and outrigger canoes will be paddled by False Creek Racing Canoe Club, and some other clubs. I think I will be on a boat where paddlers from different teams have been invited to participate. I am very excited at being invited.
Back in the summer, I did a video audition to be a torch bearer for the City of Vancouver, as two library workers would be included amongst the selected workers from police, firemen, city workers and parks workers. Sadly, I wasn't chosen – but I know our library workers are deserving and wonderful people, especially my friend Judy Caldwell, who is a librarian, and dragon boater. Judy is one of the founders of the Abreast in a Boat dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors, and we were both awarded the 2008 BC Community Achievement Award.
I've been involved with dragon boats in Vancouver for many years. I attended the first dragon boat races on False Creek in 1986 during Expo 86. I joined my first team in 1993. Soon I was coaching other teams, and competed in Victoria races in 1997 and San Francisco in 1999. I was invited to join the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival Race Committee in 2000. In 2003 I helped to found the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race, as board member of the CCC Dragon Boat Association. The Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team has been active since 2002, and dedicated to promoting multiculturalism through dragon boat paddling. We have put Taiwanese dragon boats into the St. Patrick's Day parade in 2004 and 2005. The team has been filmed for tv documentaries for French, German and Canadian television, and also for an upcoming documentary movie.
This is one of my favorite pictures of the Gung Haggis team, at the 2007 Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat race! Imagine holdin the Olympic Torch from the head of the dragon – but these Taiwanese boats won't be used for the Olympic Torch Relay.
Here is information about viewing the Olympic Torch on False Creek from the False Creek Racing Canoe Club Website:
After covering 45,000 Km across Canada, the Olympic flame will be crossing the waters of False Creek on its final
journey to BC Place for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter
… the next-to-last leg of the Torch Relay, on February 12th, will be from Granville Island to Yaletown!
That a final-day leg is on the water – really, it's a bit odd when you think in terms of Winter in Canada
– is a recognition of the importance which paddle sports have in many
parts of Canada, especially in & around Vancouver and the Lower
Mainland … even in Winter!
leg is on False Creek is recognition of how many people see the Creek
as the central hub of their training & racing & simple
recreational-paddling activites – not just FCRRC, but all the other
clubs & groups & individuals using it too.
And too, of
how much the Creek has changed since it was primarily a very
unfriendly-to-recreation beehive of industrial activities, before Expo 86 –
when the first Dragon Boat events took place there.
Key details (there might be more to come a bit later in the week – stay tuned):
- on February 12th, departing from the FC Ferry dock at
the West end of Granville Island, the Torch will be carried in a Dragon
Boat and a Voyageur Canoe to the Yaletown dock at the Quayside Marina. Full details & map here, and in the Vancouver2010 Interactive map (go to Day 106 & select Vancouver)
- Kamini Jain, FCRCC's Head Coach, and Hugh Fisher, one of FCRCC's founders, both of whom have competed in paddling events at the Summer Olympics for Canada, have been honoured by being chosen as Torch Bearers for the False Creek leg
So let's all get out to watch the Torch's voyage, and cheer Kamini & Hugh.
- Suggested viewing points are Granville Island, the Granville Street
Bridge, the Seawall either side of David Lam Park and the Cambie Street
- Eager to absorb all the Olympic spirit of the final day? Come down
to Granville Island earlier, and follow the torch as it makes its way
through the streets before crossing the water (see the map for full
details of the two days – 105 & 106 – that the Torch is in
- Boat traffic (including canoes, kayaks, etc.) will be extremely restricted
during this time!
… taking out your own boat (or one of the Club's OCs or Marathons or K/C-1s) to view the Torch Relay will
likely result in being turned away and missing the view you can get
from on-land viewpoints
- Make sure you allow yourself lots of time to get there, and don't plan on parking on or anywhere near GI either (see News item for more on those topics)
For more information on the Torch Relay and other Olympic events visit vancouver2010.com