Tuesday, February 5, 2002
Steamboat Springs Sue Lewis of Steamboat Springs got the chance of a lifetime Saturday when she ran with the Olympic Torch for a portion of its trip to Utah.
But Lewis said while she enjoyed the run, the biggest honor was being nominated by a her 16-year-old nephew.
"It's just kind of meaningful to be a role model for a teen-ager," she said.
Nick Raschke, a Moffat County High School student, saw a Coca-Cola commercial on television asking for people to nominate their real-life hero.
"She's always been a real inspiration in my life," Raschke said.
Lewis has run in a marathon in Athens, Greece, and competed in triathlons, which Raschke said influenced him to be a runner and to join his high school cross country team.
"She's a go-getter; she is always striving," he said.
Lewis ran the torch two-tenths of a mile in the Gypsum area and said the thrill of the experience centered on the people who supported her.
"All my friends and family that came over to watch me run was very touching," she said.
Raschke also made the trip.
"It was extremely cool," he said.
Lewis said it was exciting to carry a symbol of the Olympics, something athletes around the world dedicate their lives to.
"I passed the same flame that Lance Armstrong passed," she said.
The run has inspired her to schedule a trip to Utah to see some of the games.
"I already have tickets. After that happened, I had to go," she said.
Coca-Cola sponsored Lewis' short run and bought the torch she held. (Each runner carries their own torch and has an option to buy it.)
Lewis wants to display the torch at the Routt County Courthouse, where she works, for everyone in the community to see.
At least two other Steamboat residents Emily Conjura and Hank Kashiwa carried the Olympic torch on its trip through Colorado. Also, Lisa Perricone was a support runner.