Olympic torch bearer lives the dream

Karen Cunningham was selected to be an Olympic torch bearer.
Karen Cunningham was selected to be an Olympic torch bearer.

This is the moment Karen Cunningham had been dreaming of, ever since being told she had been selected to carry the Olympic torch on part of its long journey to Rio.

The former Morecambe Grammar School pupil is pictured completing her leg, watched by huge crowds, in the Brazilian city of Campos dos Goytacazes, 180-miles from Rio.

Karen Cunningham was an Olympic torch bearer in Rio.

Karen Cunningham was an Olympic torch bearer in Rio.

Karen, a former record-breaking young athlete, who did much of her early training on the track at Lancaster and Morecambe College, declared: “It was an amazing experience.”

She explained there were 16 people in her group, with a Brazilian rower initially taking the torch across a river that runs through the centre of the city before passing it on to a local girl.

Karen, who works for the International Olympic Committee, based in Switzerland, was the third runner in the group. “The local girl put her torch next to mine, and the torches ‘kissed’ as she gave me the flame.

“I was grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole time.”

Karen, whose parents, Arthur and Eva Evans, live in Lancaster, was one of nine IOC staff members selected to be torch bearers.

She has worked for the IOC for seven years, in the department that provides funding for the Olympic Games, operating closely with 
top global sponsors and also a battery of international 
television and radio broadcasters.

Rio was Karen’s fourth Olympics and her very special keepsake memento of the Games is...the very torch she carried!