The Olympic Torch Relay has come and gone through New Jersey and New York City area. The Olympic Torch Relay in this area was December 23, 2001. The 20th day of the 65 day long torch relay to Salt Lake City, Utah.
You are about to read Big Mike's story from beginning to end. Big Mike carried the olympic torch in Staten Island, NY. Then when you are done reading here. Go back to "Torchbearer Mike" main page and check out the photos in the photo section on the right. Each photo will also includes a story along with it.
My mother and I picked up two good friends that came along. M. McCabe from WBHS and Scott Wentworth from the Belleville Fire Department. McCabe came along to see me and video tape me. Scott came along to see me and gave awesome direction with his big book map. We left early in the morning on December 23rd. Just in case we gotten lost along the line. Got to Staten Island with no problem. Then finding the school was also no problem. Public School 16 that is. We was there before 8:30am. Not many torchbearers this early in the morning. Talked to other torchbearers while waiting. Even took videos and pictures. I had a froggy throat since December 20th. Had a bit hard time talking to people. Eh!! Was waiting to bump into the lady I talked to on the phone December 21st from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her name is Arney from New York City MS building. Did meet some nice people during the time. Later in the morning. A long time friend Vinnie F. and his wife Phyllis came by with a poster sign. The poster read "Torchbearer Big Mike Dowd". What a suprise!! Talked to the principal of PS School 16. Picture taken and video taped. Shuttle bus four was gathering together by the torch relay host. Was being told about the torch and so on. All those in shuttle olympic bus five was now in front of school 16. Finally met Arney and the lady with the cane that has MS. The lady with MS is the one carrying the torch with Arney by her side. Was suppose to take pictures. They was there a bit late. They had to sign in and all and then onto the shuttle bus four. Bus four leaves after the speeches and talking. Then it was my turn. Those waiting for olympic shuttle bus five. I met the person passing the olympic flame to me. His name was Mr. Chevallier. I got my number. Which is 068. Mr. Chevallier is 067. He works for a big international business. Had his own photographer. Sheeesh! Wish I had my own. SMILE! Then met the nice lady I will be passing the olympic flame to. I forgot her name. But she had 069. The olympic host gave each torchbearer a torch to use for taking pictures for a short time. Mr. Chevallier and I took a picture together. Which was cool! The torch relay host for bus five got all the torchbearers togther. Talked about the torch. how to hold it. How to pick up the flame when it reaches you and so on. I even did my part by pretending to make a crowd noise. SMILE! Everyone laughed! After the host talked. We all gave back the torches. Slowly boarded the shuttle bus. The host said to friends and families that it was now time to leave for the destination where torchbearers carrying the olympic flame. Forgive me as I did forget the names of the torch relay hosts and most torchbearers. On the shuttle bus, the young lady host spoke about the video that was about to play on the TV screen. The video showed the recent shoot of how the olympic flame started and how it got to the United States. Even showed the first torchbearer. Which is Mohammad Ali. The bus still did not move yet. Each torchbearer told a story how they was chosen. When I told my story. I only told parts of it. Because I was excited and nervous a bit. There was two torchbearers from diferent local radio station. One from WHTZ NY radio and the other from Hot 97 NY radio. Anyway, I was excited. Did a little dance. The olympic host saw me do the little dance. The lady host asked if I was ready. All I said with a big smile was Yup! When the bus did move. We gone as far as Daneil Low Terrace and Victory Blvd for a bit. Then moved on. Dropped off the first two torchbearers. Then it was my turn to get off the bus. I was very excited of course. Again, I did a little dance in my seat. I got off and waved. The torch was in my hand. The guy on the motorcycle (Shrek) turned on the gas on my torch with a special key. Waited for the media one truck to roll by. Then I was told to move to the middle of the street. Torchbearer Mr. Chevallier (067) came up to me. I lowered my torch slowly, but the glass from mine still cling to his torch when the flame jumped to my torch. We shaked hands before I turned and jogged. I wondered if McCabe would keep up with me while video taping. While I was jogging. I kept looking at the flame on the torch. I was smiling and excited. Did hold my support runners hand twice. She was also excited. The support runner said that this is amazing. No...I do not remember her name. Trying to keep the torch high in the air. But my right arm slowly started to get a bit tired. Then switched to the left hand before the end. As I came to the next torchbearer. I slowed down a bit. Then walked the last couple of feet to the torchbearer in front of me. I lowered my torch towards torchbearer 069. Which I met, but forgot her name. After lighting her torch. I gave her a kiss before she took off with the olympic flame. I walked to the side. The same guy (Shrek) took the torch and turned off the gas and the flame is out. The olympic bus from behind came and I jumped on. All I said was....WOW! Sat in front of the bus, drank Coca-Cola and watched each torchbearer come on the bus. But not all torchbearers came back on the bus. Some torchbearers went with families or friends after they carried the olympic flame. The bus I was on went to Richmond Park. Where the lunch Ceromony was. Tried to call my mother using the relay host cell phone. But she forgot how to answer my cell phone. Then went to watch the ceromony. A suprise came up. Half brother Deion and Pat came. Plus there Uncle Dave. I saw three guys taking pictures and video taping. I waved and all. Not knowing it was them yet. Did not click in. As I walked by. Deion said to me, "Don't you recgonize your brother". Something like that! Started to hug each other and all. I did not know what to do. I wanted to show them my torch and talk, but did not know how long was going to be there. This guy at the podeuim came up to me. Asking my name and if I was the next torchbearer to carry the flame. I told the guy I already ran with the torch. But he got my name anyway. That I might be on stage. Time ran out for me. I had to go back on the shuttle bus. Pick up a few more torchbearers. Then headed back to PS School 16. The driver missed the school twice. Got off the olympic shuttle bus and then gone home. December 23, 2001 is the day I will not ever forget. EVER!
The people that came to see me carry the olympic flame. I won't forget you. Those that selected me to carry the olympic flame. I won't forget you either. To all my friends and families in and around Belleville. I love you all. I represent the township of Belleville and the Multiple Sclerosis Mid-Jersey Chapter. The torch belongs to the residents of Belleville.