At three-and-a-half pounds, the Olympic torch isn’t particularly easy to carry.
“It feels heavy because, ideally, you’d like to hold it a bit high,” explained William Zoghbi, M.D. “It’s top-heavy. But carrying the torch is an amazing feeling that you never forget.”
Zoghbi, now chair of the Department of Cardiology at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, was among 22 torchbearers selected by Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola to carry the flame through the streets of England before London’s 2012 Games.
“They asked me if I’d like to walk or run and I said I’d love to run,” Zoghbi said. “What I recall going down from the bus where they transport you is the vibrancy of the crowd, the roar of the people.”
Zoghbi, 60, who stays fit thanks to a regular workout of aerobics, weight- and joint-strengthening and yoga, ran the equivalent of four football fields with the torch.
“I was honored to represent cardiovascular health and a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “And the other amazing experience was meeting all the other torchbearers, including a teenager who recycled thousands of tennis shoes to donate to needy communities.”
Especially now, during a summer steeped in violence in the United States and abroad, the Olympic Games offer a chance to “lessen the tension the current world is experiencing,” Zoghbi said. “We have to re-focus on what life is about and what this beautiful world is about. We have to carry the conversation in a positive manner.
I hope the Olympics will emphasize community, competition and collaboration.”
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