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Coal Grove mother one of many area torchbearers

COAL GROVE – In mid-December, Janet McCarty will take her place as one of thousands around the country to carry the 2002 Olympic Torch.

Friday, November 30, 2001

COAL GROVE – In mid-December, Janet McCarty will take her place as one of thousands around the country to carry the 2002 Olympic Torch.

"You can’t imagine the surprise I had when I got the envelope," she said. "It was something else. It’s really quite an honor."

Mrs. McCarty, a Coal Grove native, and Stacey Welch of Proctorville are among 11,500 runners who will carry the torch as it moves across the United States to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the start of February’s games.

The runners were selected earlier this year by panels of community judges, who were looking for people who embody the Olympic spirit to carry the 3-pound torch for two-tenths of a mile.

And, Mrs. McCarty’s brand of Olympic spirit is why she came to be chosen, her daughter explained.

Alison McCarty-Fisher said she first thought of nominating her mother after hearing Coke advertise on the radio that torchbearers, people who inspire you, were needed.

"My mother really is a true inspiration to me," Mrs. Fisher said, adding that she emailed a 100-word essay about her mother to the Olympic torch committee.

In the essay, words described Mrs. McCarty as a caring mother of four who worked full-time, kept a clean house and cooked thousands of meals, Mrs. Fisher said.

"And her with four kids, we were always into something different," she said. "But she never missed any of our activities. She was there for every one of us, dad, too; holding us all together, mom did that."

Even when Ironton Malleable shut down and the family had to move briefly, they never went without, she added.

"I just figure if I can be half a mom as she’s been I’ll be doing pretty good."

Mrs. McCarty, who will say she’s not done anything extraordinary, said she’s always been an Olympics fan, watching the games on television.

"It’s a great honor," she said, adding that she’s excited and nervous about carrying the torch. "It’s once in a lifetime; I just can’t believe that I would have the honor to do it."

Mrs. McCarty will receive her official Olympic sweatsuit any day now, then spend a week or two getting ready for next month’s run through the Tri-State area.

The Olympic flame will arrive in the U.S. in December aboard a plane from the Olympic birthplace of Athens.

The torch will take a serpentine 65-day course through America starting Dec. 4 in Atlanta and arriving Feb. 8 in Salt Lake. The identify of the final torchbearer, who will light the cauldron at opening ceremony, won’t be known until that moment.

In all, the flame will travel 13,500 miles by air, train, ship, dog sled, snowmobile, horse-drawn sleigh and other modes of transport, including runners who will carry the torch for 17 percent of the distance.

The only states the Olympic torch will not visit are Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Hawaii.

Selected Olympic torchbearers in the Ohio River Region, on a Dec. 18 schedule:

– Janet McCarty, Coal Grove

– Stacey Welch, Proctorville

– Deanna (Dee) Adams, Wheelersburg

– Marcia Sanderlin, Portsmouth

– Jerry Mayer, Russell, Ky.

– Elizabeth Melvin, Russell, Ky.

– Gail Melvin Russell, Ky.

– Jeff Bauserman, Russell Ky.

– Tom Robinette III, Ashland Ky.

– Susan Strehle, Ashland Ky.

– Jeremy Sheffey, Catlettsburg, Ky.