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'81-year-old gal' carries torch into Parliament

Former Olympian Barbara Ann Scott carries the torch in the House of Commons on December 10, 2009.


It was an historic first for politicians and the House of Commons - the Olympic torch arrived in the chamber at 2 o'clock this afternoon. And the Olympian carrying the flame was Barbara Ann Scott, Canada's sweetheart and gold medalist for figure skating in the 1948 winter games in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Ms. Scott is 81 years old now, and she is tiny. Weighing only 89 pounds, she said organizers had trouble finding her a suit that would fit. But she had no trouble hoisting the flame, walking up the centre aisle of the chamber to a standing ovation from MPs.

Many MPs, including Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Heritage Minister James Moore, were taking pictures of the event on their BlackBerrys and cellphones.

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Later, Ms. Scott told reporters she was thrilled to be back in her hometown of Ottawa and in Canada. She lives in the United States now.

"I can't tell you what a thrill this has been," she said. "Imagine an 81-year-old gal being invited to carry the torch into the Parliament buildings."

Although the torch relay is in Quebec today, the flame that Ms. Scott carried was from one of the lanterns carrying the flame that was initially lit last October in Athens, Greece.

(Photo: Chris Wattie/Reuters)

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About the Author
Ontario politics reporter

Jane Taber is a reporter at Queen’s Park. After spending three years reporting from the Atlantic, she has returned to Ontario and back to writing about her passion, politics. She spent 25 years covering Parliament Hill for the Ottawa Citizen, the National Post and the Globe and Mail. More

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