Of the Baker City Herald

The worlds most famous flame will warm Baker City next winter.

The Olympic Torch will be hand-carried through the city on Friday, Jan. 25, 2002, en route to Salt Lake City for the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 8.

Heres a catch: If you want to hoist the torch, or know someone you think deserves the honor, you dont have much time left to burn before submitting a nomination form.

Only one day, in fact.

Forms must be postmarked, or filled out online at, by Tuesday.

Judging will take place in June, and the estimated 11,500 torchbearers will learn in July where theyll be carrying the flame.

The torch relay will start Dec. 4, 2001, in Atlanta. The torch will travel more than 13,500 miles over the next two months, passing through 46 states.

We hope to have some local nominees to choose from, said Jennifer Watkins, the citys community development specialist and local coordinator for the torch relay. Though the deadline is fast approaching, I encourage anyone who is interested to submit an application right away.

If you cant apply online, Watkins has application forms. Her office is in Baker City Hall, 1655 First St., and her phone number is 524-2032.

Watkins said officials from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee estimate six to eight torchbearers will carry the flame through Baker City.

Theres no guarantee all will be local residents, she said, but torchbearers typically are assigned to a .2-of-a-mile section in their own region, she said.

Because Baker City is along the relay route, city residents will help choose torchbearers during a judging session at Boise, where one of approximately 100 such panels will meet next month.

Anyone interested in serving as a judge can call Watkins at her office.

Torchbearer nomination applications must include a 50- to 100-word essay describing how the person meets one or more of these criteria:

o Inspires others to greater achievement.

o Has been a source of inspiration for his/her community.

o Embodies the inspirational spirit of the Olympic movement.

o Motivates others by encountering and overcoming adversity.

What better way to honor those who have inspired us than to nominate them to carry this great symbol of the Olympic movement, said Baker City Mayor Nancy Shark. It will be a great day for Baker City when we cheer on our friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches and loved ones as torchbearers.

Torchbearers will be assigned a .2-of-a-mile section, and have to pay their own way to travel to their part of the route if the section isnt in their hometown.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee will provide each torchbearer a uniform. Torchbearers can buy the torch they carry for about $300.

Nominees must meet all of the following requirements to be eligible:

o They must be at least 12 years old as of Dec. 4, 2001. Torchbearers younger than 18 need a signed parental consent form.

o They must sign a waiver and publicity release form.

o They must agree to carry the torch at the assigned section of the relay route. Its not possible to trade sections with another torchbearer.

o They must be able to carry the torch for .2 of a mile.

o They must not be a candidate for political office or an elected official.

The Salt Lake Organizing Committee will accommodate torchbearers with special needs.

Torches can be mounted to wheelchairs or motorized scooters, and officials will arrange for companion dogs to participate if necessary.

Torchbearers who cant complete their assigned section will be honored at the site.