sharing the Olympic spirit

Torch carriers condemn disruptions of torch relay
Updated: 2008-04-09 11:36


SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco torchbearers Kortney Clemons and Dean Karnazes denounced Tuesday the attempts to disrupt the Olympic flame relay in Paris as they attended an exhibition of "Lucky Cloud" torch in the backdrop of Golden State Bridge.

For 27-year-old Kortney Clemons, a paralympian for the Beijing Games in September, the Olympic flame is sacred and the arrival of the flame is a time to celebrate but not protest for any reason.

"I am so excited to be part of the torch relay. It would be perfect relay without any disruption and it's a great time to celebrate for everyone upon the arrival of the Olympic flame " said Clemons, who lost his right leg in Iraq war in February 2005.

"It's time to wrap up our differences and celebrate the occasion. It's not in compliance with Olympic spirit to binding politics with sports," added Clemons.

Clemons started training on sprint months after losing his leg in a bomb explosion, but he has never surrendered to the cruel twist of fate. He won his place in Beijing Paralympics on June for 100m and is looking forward to Beijing journey.

When he heard someone tried to grab the torch from Chinese wheelchair torch bearer Jin Jing in Paris on Monday, Clemons condemned the action inhumane and crazy.

When Jin Jing was waiting for second runner Anthony Ricardo, former French national basketball player, several Tibetan separatists threw themselves at Jin and her two companions. Nearly knocked off from her wheelchair, Jin protected the torch from the mob.

Clemons believed that he was selected as torchbearer for his efforts of never giving up hopes.

Dean Karnazes, a keen marathon lover, has just completed 50 marathons, in 50 states in 50 days. Dean has tried to encourage people to adopt healthier, more environment-friendly lifestyle. For his efforts, Time magazine named him one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World".

"For me Olympic flame stands for hope, inspiration, optimism and Olympic spirit, so the flame is carrying an important message to world," said Karnazes, adding the Olympic flame is uniting people together instead of dividing.

"No one is entitled to destruction of the spread of Olympic flame. It stands for freedom and pride, it's a time for people coming together for harmony, but not confrontation," he said.

Both the bearers were excited with Wednesday's run and are expecting a great relay in their hometown, the sole relay destination in North America.

The flame is making its sixth stopover of global journey in San Francisco before heading for Buenos Aires.

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