The flame brings such joy and unity to everyone, Crystal said. That was the most memorable part.
Crystal, originally from Dublin, GA, was chosen for the relay by relay sponsor Coca-Cola, for her community volunteerism. A double-major in American Sign Language and Mathematics, Crystal focuses her community involvement on environmental projects. She organized more than 150 volunteers to tear down an old playground and re-build a new one at a Laurens County shelter for abused women and their children. In addition to re-building the playground equipment, Hardys group water-stained the wooden fences, built a rain shelter, and put together several sitting benches. At Georgia Southern, Crystal has volunteered for the massive campus re-lamping project where traditional incandescent bulbs are being switched to energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly CFLs. Hardy also volunteers during Georgia Southern home football games to collect items for recycling that might normally be thrown away after tailgating.
So, last May when Crystal saw that Coca-Cola was searching for students in the U.S. who exemplify positive living, she jumped at the opportunity, asking her former Girl Scout leader to write a letter of recommendation. One month later, Crystal learned she had been chosen to carry the torch.
I was ecstatic and honored to be a part of such an esteemed historic event, and even more humbled to be around such an inspiring group of accomplished people during my time in Canada, Crystal said.
To prepare for the relay, Crystal began a fitness regimen of running every other day and lifting weights.
Even though the torch only weighs 3.5 pounds, I still had to make sure I was ready, Crystal said. I recently started using KT Tape on my quads because I strained the muscle, and it helped soothe the pain from the strain! I'm very excited that because having a muscle soother like this definitely encourages me to continue running and working out through my hectic class schedule.
Crystal arrived in Calgary the day before her relay, just in time to meet other torchbearers and their families. Not only did I get a chance to know the other torchbearers and their families better, but I learned a lot more about Coca-Cola initiatives to live positively as well, Crystal added.
Before the relay, Crystal said she was nervous, but as soon as I saw the crowd of people and was engulfed by the spirit of unity, my nervousness was replaced by excitement and honor.
Before the flame got to me, an officer escorted me in to the middle of the road and gave me some quick tips. Dont let the flame get too low. Run in the middle of road. And look at the camera, Crystal recalled. Congratulations Crystal! Thanks for sharing your story, and we're so glad KT Tape was a part of this experience.
To read more about Crystal, check out this interview from Essence Magazine.
To read more about the Olympic Relay, click here.