GAINESVILLE, FLA. –The 2012 Olympics might be finished, but an Olympic torch will make an appearance in Gainesville.
Sunday, Jillian Roberts, a 2012 Olympic torchbearer and UF student, will bring a torch given to her after the Olympics to St. Francis Catholic High School, 4100 NW 115th Terrace.
“I’m real excited to come and let them see the torch,” Roberts said. “I hope they like it and they can take back something from seeing the torch.“
Roberts, a 19-year-old psychology sophomore, said she hopes the children will see the Olympic torch as more than just a big, shiny gold object.
She hopes the children will want to become torchbearers one day and receive a torch of their own.
“It’s a unifying object that allows people to come together,” Roberts said.
After Roberts saw a presentation by Balance 180, a nonprofit program that focuses on getting children with disabilities involved in sports, she offered to bring the torch for the kids to see.
“I consider it a privilege and an honor to have the torch at our event,” said Krista Vandenborne, a director at Balance 180.
Roberts was one of the 22 American torchbearers at the Olympics.
Roberts carried the torch in a town called Slough. She said there were thousands of people lining the streets and cheering.
“It was completely surreal,” she said. “It was incredible holding the Olympic torch and Olympic flame in my hands.”
“At first, I was confused and thought I misheard,” Vandenborne said. “I couldn’t believe that we could be so fortunate, and Jillian so generous.”