Torch will come to Hanover

by Tara Kyle | 10/30/01 6:00am

When Hanover welcomes the Olympic Torch later this year, the town will become part of a tradition dating back to the 1936 opening ceremonies in Berlin.

But most Dartmouth students will miss the party.

The torch's visit to campus comes at the tail end of Winter Break, on Dec. 28. All but a small minority of students will still be at home, recovering from the holiday season.

This winter marks the first time since 1996's Atlanta Games that the Torch Relay will tour the United States. After departing from the Georgia capital on Dec. 4, the torch will travel up the eastern seaboard, reaching Dartmouth's campus as it turns inward toward Lake Placid, N.Y.

A motorcade will bring the torch into Norwich, where a group of runners will carry it across Ledyard Bridge and on to ceremonies in Hanover. Stopover festivities will commence either at the Collis Center porch or on the Green.

The Salt Lake City Olympic Committee has fielded over 30 runners for the Greater Lebanon leg, based on a selection process of public nominations. Additionally, sponsors Coca-Cola and Chevrolet will soon announce their own participants, each of whom will be responsible for a small section of the route linking Norwich, Hanover and Lebanon.

Officials from the College and town of Hanover are working together on publicity and event-organizing.

Yesterday, Rick Adams and Laurel Stavis of Dartmouth's Public Affairs department met with Assistant Recreation Director for Hanover Christine Vitale. The three are part of a committee that was formed last summer shortly after Hanover's inclusion in the relay was announced.

Organizers hope to put on a "Winter Fair" during the hour or two preceding the torch's arrival on campus. Vitale said this project may include such aspects as snowshoe races, a clown, hot cocoa and a "bouncy castle" -- if such inflatable toys can be operated during the more frigid months.

Whatever form of celebration does take place, it will be kept low-key. One idea behind the torch relay is that spectators travel with the runners as they proceed from town to town, so Hanover and the College won't try to entice visitors from moving on.

"We don't want to do something so big that it detracts from Lebanon," Vitale said in reference to festivities at the next stop.

The three official themes of the 2002 torch, which measures just under three feet in height, are "Land of Contrast -- Fire and Ice," "Light the Fire Within" and "Taming of the West -- the Past and Present."

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