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Torch experience ‘unbelievable’

Richmond’s  Alex  Zolotoochin ran with the torch In Kanata, Ont. - Stephanie Ip photo
Richmond’s Alex Zolotoochin ran with the torch In Kanata, Ont.
— image credit: Stephanie Ip photo

For a semi-retired Richmond engineer, a run-in with a Canadian Olympic legend was the perfect way to begin his run with the Olympic torch.

While waiting for a taxi to take him to his starting point, Alex Zolotoochin, 67, recognized Canadian figure skating legend Barbara Ann Scott in the lobby of a hotel and had a photo taken with her.

Scott, now 81, snagged a gold medal in figure skating—the first Canadian to do so—at the 1948 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, Switzerland at the age of 20.

Zolotoochin, who ran with the torch in Kanata, Ont. on Dec. 13, 2009, describes the experience as a “blur.”

“One daughter was taking photos and my other daughter was shouting, ‘This is my dad! This is my dad!’ while my six year-old grandson was next to her saying, ‘Mom, this is kind of embarrassing!’,” says Zolotoochin.

Zolotoochin’s wife, Jacqueline also says that the experience was “unbelievable.”

“You can’t prepare yourself for this moment. It goes so fast and then it is gone.”

As a semi-retired structural engineer who has been a resident of Richmond since 1974, Zolotoochin says what impressed him most was the reaction of the people.

“Everybody wanted to touch the torch, hold the torch, meet the torch bearer. I’ve never been photographed so much in such a short time in my life,” says Zolotoochin, who was applauded by strangers when he walked into a restaurant following his run.

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