The Olympic Torch came to Dublin today! I didn't realize what a once in a life time experience seeing the torch in person could be, but I realized that chances were very slim that I would ever be living within walking distance of another Olympic torch route again. I was able to watch the earlier part of the relay on tv and then walk out my front door and around the corner to see it pass by in person.
The man carrying the torch when I saw it was Mark Pollock. I didn't know who he was but I came home and immediately googled him. He is an Irish man who, after having problems with his eyes since childhood, became completely blind at the age of 22. Instead of resigning himself to some lesser fate, he worked towards a life of extreme adventuring as a blind man. He spent 43 days racing to the South Pole in sub-zero temperatures, completed a marathon at the North Pole, and completed six marathons in a week in the Gobi Desert... just to name a few of his accomplishments. Unfortunately, he had a terrible fall out of a window two years ago and has since been paralyzed from the waist down. Through all of this, however, he has maintained great spirits and is pushing every day to get better and continue his adventuring. Reading his story and catching up on his blog was amazing. So many things have worked against this man throughout his life and yet they have all just made him push harder and become stronger. He is a truly inspiring man.
I was surprised at the effect seeing the torch had on me. I love the Olympics. As one of my Irish friends pointed out "it's easy to love them when your country wins everything!", but it's really so much more than that. As cheesy as it sounds, I love seeing so many countries come together to celebrate this event every four years. Having studied the histories of many of these countries and having an understanding of the conflicts that have existed in the past and may still exist today, it really is a profound feeling to see everyone together competing in such a good spirited way. Also, the amount of hard work all of the athletes put into their training is both impressive and motivating.
|The Olympic Torch!|
|The torch bearers from earlier in the day|
|What would an event in Ireland be without a little Jedward action?|