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Principal runs for his boys

H.J. Cambie principal Neil Kamide, seen here with sons Colin and Adam, says he can’t think of many moments more special than representing one’s country at the Olympics.  - Don Fennell photo
H.J. Cambie principal Neil Kamide, seen here with sons Colin and Adam, says he can’t think of many moments more special than representing one’s country at the Olympics.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

Just over 48 hours before the Olympic torch enters B.C. Place Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the XXI Winter Games, a Richmond principal will be sharing the flame on the North Shore.

H.J. Cambie’s Neil Kamide will be carrying the torch along Capilano at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

But he says while he’s fortunate enough to have been selected, he’s really running for his two sons.

“My passion is running, but this isn’t about me, this is for the boys,” he said. They really wanted a chance to be part of this, but when we learned they wouldn’t be old enough I put in an application for a chance to do this for the family.”

Adam, 13, and Colin, 10, are proud their dad was selected as a torchbearer and equally thrilled that they’ll be able to keep the torch afterward.

“We’re very fortunate as a family that I was selected and this is something I hope the boys will remember,” Kamide said.

An ardent supporter of sports, Kamide says athletics speaks to his heart. He says the opportunity for Vancouver to host an Olympic Games is special.

“I can’t think of many more special moments than to represent your country,” said Kamide. “I think about those competing in these Games and what an experience that must. But sometimes our only focus is on those deemed to be the winners. All the competitors should be seen as winners because they are all among the best in the world.”

Kamide said as parents, he and his wife try instill in their children the values of sport, stressing that they’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete and play a wide variety of sports from hockey to soccer to fencing.

“We try to encourage them to broaden their horizons,” he said. “Participation is not just about developing skills, but hopefully learning to become better people.

“That’s the true essence of many activities and certainly sports. If you’re more proficient at sport but not a better person then we’ve missed an opportunity that can’t be regained.”

The Olympic Creed states: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

“When my kids played Hockey 1 and 2 they never put the score on the board,” said Kamide.

“The success or failure was measured by how they felt at the end of the day, did they have fun and did they improve their skills. Some days you may have played your best and lost to a better team. That should be OK. Conversely, sometimes you win by a tremendous margin but haven’t played to your potential. It’s much like life.”

Honoured to be carrying the Olympic torch, Kamide is a proud Canadian and Richmondite.

“I hope people come away from these Games knowing how special it is to live here,” he said.

“Sometimes we joke about Canadianisms, but I hope people (from around the world) are able to learn who we really are.”

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