Flame Seenas Triumph Over Adversity

By Geoff Davies, For Canwest News ServiceNovember 22, 2009

Paul Wilmot couldn’t help but think about the symbolism of the Olympic torch he carried Saturday morning through this Nova Scotia town.

“I’ll be praying for world peace,” the 48-year-old outdoor recreation professor said before his portion of the relay.

The torch bid farewell to Nova Scotia and said hello to Prince Edward Island as the flame continued its cross-Canada odyssey.

Wilmot said, for him, the flame represents struggle against adversity, a struggle many people have faced during the history of the Games, and one he knows all too well.

“For me, the torch represents an opportunity for people to find all kinds of good things in what we do as opposed to focusing energy on negative things.”

Wilmot has overcome his own adversity.

Sent away from his Mi’kmaq community at a young age because of his visual impairment, Wilmot said he had to learn to accept being stuck between two worlds that didn’t accept him. In his First Nations community, they would call him an “apple,” he said. “(They would say) ‘my friend, you may be red on the outside, but all the things you say and do . . . (are) pretty damn white.’ ”

At a boarding school for the blind he attended in Halifax, he said he was called “redskin” by children who quite literally couldn’t see colour.

It was this struggle, and his success in overcoming it, that Wilmot said makes the symbolism of the torch resonate so strongly with him.

After visiting Amherst on Saturday morning, the Olympic flame was taken via the Wood Island ferry to Prince Edward Island.

Matthew Caseley of Kensington, P.E.I., carried the torch off the ferry. Caseley won gold in the hammer throw during the 2009 Canada Summer Games in Charlottetown.

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