BYU student fulfills Olympic dream by torch-bearing

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    By Jeff Ghering

    Olympic dreams came true for a BYU student Wednesday when the torch was finally placed in her hand.

    “I have always wanted to be part of the Olympics,” Gittins said. “I am very excited to be a part of this.”

    Gittins began power tumbling when she was about five-years old and excelled quickly.

    In 1997 she won a gold medal at the Utah Summer Games and won first place at a state competition in 1991.

    Knee injuries ailed Gittins and kept her from continuing with her dreams of someday competing in the Olympics when at age 15 she was forced to quit.

    Since that time, Gittins has found other ways to stay busy.

    “I love volunteering,” Gittins said. “I volunteered for two years at the Utah School for the Deaf and the Blind, and I volunteer in many other ways.”

    Suzanne”s father, Lane Gittins, who nominated her as a torch runner, said his daughter has always been into volunteering.

    “That is exemplified by what she is doing now as an Olympic volunteer,” said Lane Gittins.

    Gittins and her father Lane are both volunteers for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and have enjoyed spending time together while preparing for the games, Lane Gittins said.

    “Suzanne works wonders,” he said. “Having her at BYU is kind of tough for us because she is such a help at home.”

    Being the oldest of 10 children is no easy task according to Gittins. But she is dedicated to helping out at home and enjoys a special relationship with her parents.

    “She really wanted to be in the Olympics,” said Suzannes”s roommate Jessica Glass, 19, a freshman from Sacramento Calif. majoring in media arts. “It was kind of like fulfilling an Olympic dream.”

    In addition to her volunteer work and helping out at home, Gittins also plays the trumpet for BYUs” Marching, Symphonic, and Jazz bands where she gets a chance to blow her own horn.

    Gittins, along with all of the other torchbearers, has the opportunity to hang on to the torch if she can come up with the money.

    It will cost Gittins about $350 to buy the torch according to what she has been told.

    Gittins plans to hang on to the torch to remind her of a very special event in her life.

    The Olympic torch being carried by runners is like none other. There are unique characteristics that tie this torch to Utah, said Jeff Edwards, an Olympic torchbearer.

    Just below the glass top of the torch is a raw area that signifies when Utah was first founded. As you move further down, it becomes smoother. That symbolizes how Utah was further refined over the years to become the wonderful place it is, Edwards said.

    “It”s the only Olympic torch, they claim, where you see the entire flame because of the ice,” Edwards said. “So it”s supposed to be fire and ice.”

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