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Olympic Torch Lit Up Boys Town

August 5th, 2016     By Tom Lynch, Director of Community Programs and the Boys Town Hall of History

Boys Town History, Sports, Village of Boys Town

Many important and distinctive events occur in the Village of Boys Town. Their purpose is to enrich students and broaden their educational experience.

Oftentimes, these events are sports related. One of the most interesting occurred in 2002 when the Olympic torch passed through Boys Town on its way to Salt Lake City, host of that year’s Winter Olympics.

As you may know, months before the start of the Winter and Summer Games, a ceremonial torch is lit in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics. The torch is then relayed to the host city.

The Village of Boys Town was honored to welcome the Olympic torch relay. On a crisp January day, the Village streets were closed to traffic and hundreds of spectators gathered to watch various torchbearers carry the Olympic symbol on its westward journey.

Boys Town Mayor Amanda Martinez carried the torch through the Village. She was accompanied by a large contingent of police officers on motorcycles and other relay officials.

2002, Mayor Amanda Martinez runs with Olympic Torch (1)  

Boys Town youth waved and cheered on Amanda. Many held small American flags and Olympic banners provided by Coca Cola, a major sponsor of the Salt Lake Games. Free bottles of Coke were also provided.

As is tradition, each runner carried the torch for a short distance before stopping and lighting the torch of the next runner. The torch Amanda carried was purchased by Boys Town and is currently displayed in the Hall of History.

Although the relay through Boys Town was short in duration, it made a long-lasting impression. Many former youth still recall the day a piece of the Olympics came to their Village.

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