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Torch run for Special Olympics kicks off at Waterville Michelin plant

Chris and Paula Dickson accompanied their daughter, Rachel, this year's chief torch bearer at Michelin's Special Olympics torch run kickoff event.
Chris and Paula Dickson accompanied their daughter, Rachel, this year's chief torch bearer at Michelin's Special Olympics torch run kickoff event. - Sara Ericsson

WATERVILLE – A little leader with a big smile led the way as this year’s Special Olympics torch run May  31 at Waterville’s Michelin plant.

Rachel Dickson walked, hand in hand with her parents, as she carried the torch and kicked off the Annapolis Valley chapter of the run.

Chris Dickson, who works at Michelin, said he and his family feel inspired at the event each year by Michelin’s continued support of the event, along with what the Special Olympics mean for those involved.

Hugo Bouter, left, was the first torch bearer at last year's event and carries the torch to Rachel with Mark Mander. Bouter also read the Special Olympics' athlete oath at the event.
Hugo Bouter, left, was the first torch bearer at last year's event and carries the torch to Rachel with Mark Mander. Bouter also read the Special Olympics' athlete oath at the event.

“This is something we’re just going to continue getting more involved with as Rachel gets older, so to see Michelin support it and us like this is pretty great,” he said.

Rachel, an avid athlete who runs, plays several sports and dances, was all smiles at the event, wearing headphones to dim the bagpipe’s roar as the torch’s procession with last year’s torch bearer Hugo Bouter carrying it alongside Mark Mander to the plant’s flag area for a singing of O’ Canada.

Bouter recited the athlete oath, with a strong, confident voice – “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” – and passed the torch to Rachel to carry forward.

Michelin has supported the Special Olympics in Nova Scotia for over three decades. Dave Wamboldt, who spoke during a short presentation at the kickoff event, said sports are just one important part of the event.

“This event is not only about the sports they participate in, but also about the friends they’re about to meet and the friends they’ve had for years and years they get to see again,” he said.

Chris, Paula and daughter Rachel Dickson lead the way, with Michelin staff members cheering them on.
Chris, Paula and daughter Rachel Dickson lead the way, with Michelin staff members cheering them on.

This year’s Special Olympics will run June 8-10 in Halifax and will see around 800 athletes compete at Saint Mary’s University.

Nova Scotia will also host this year’s national games, held Just 31 to August 4 in Antigonish. 100 runners taking part over next few days as torch run continues

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