CSU student to carry Olympic torch

Every athlete dreams of representing their country in the Olympic Games.

Although not competing, Charleston Southern cross country freshman Shaun Bisson will get his chance to represent Canada as one of the torch bearers for the 2010 torch relay.

The Sarnia, Ontario, native will be part of the ceremonial torch relay as the flame goes 27,961 miles)across Canada, ending in Vancouver, British Columbia, for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. On December 22, Bisson will carry the single flame for a 400m stretch in nearby Ridgetown.

“Growing up I’m sure it’s every athlete’s goal to win a major championship, or compete in the Olympics,” said Bisson. “For me growing up it was hockey; I wanted to compete internationally for Team Canada. As my focus shifted from hockey to cross country, that passion never left me. While I may never get to represent Canada for the Olympics, this is at least one step closer to the games and I am a part of it. I may not have the Olympic rings behind me like the athletes do, but it’s still a part of me representing my hometown, representing my country as a torch bearer and it is a real honor. I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to do it.”

Even though it was cross country that brought Bisson to Charleston Southern, it was hockey that got him involved in the relay.

“I was working at a hockey arena, and the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the major sponsors, had an ad campaign. They had an essay contest about how we would make the world a better place and how you could make your community better, and the winners got to be part of the torch relay.”

Recruited by a number of Big South schools, Bisson took the conference’s motto of “Developing Leaders through Athletics,” to heart, and incorporated that thought into his essay.

“I wrote about how I planned to lead by example when I got to the states,” said Bisson, who was a major part of the cross country team’s improvement this year, finishing second on the team in every race. “I want to show all of the kids who might want to become an athlete how to excel athletically and academically.”

There were more than 10,000 applications from his hometown alone, but in September, Bisson got word that he had been selected. With the Big South Championship and NCAA Southeast Regional meets on the horizon, he had little time to think about the honor. The excitement quickly built as the season finished and he saw the white and red uniform that he will don to carry the Olympic flame.

Although all uniforms are standard issued, Bisson plans to pay tribute to his school with a CSU logo on the shoes he will wear during his 400 meter stretch of history.

For more on Charleston Southern athletics, visit CSUSports.com.

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