Villeneuve caps torch relay in Montreal

BY foxsports • December 11, 2009

Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve ran one of the final legs of the Olympic torch relay in his Montreal hometown, where protesters delayed a concert on Thursday. Villeneuve carried the flame along a snow-filled street in Old Montreal before an exchange in front of a brightly lit Notre-Dame Basilica. The 38-year-old Villeneuve called the opportunity to carry the flame a "once in a lifetime experience." Protesters succeeded in delaying the arrival of the flame for about an hour as about 100 people took over the main stage set up at a square. The group's main grievance was an allegation that the Olympics were taking place illegally on stolen native lands. Montreal police said there weren't any arrests stemming from the loud but largely peaceful protest. Villeneuve said he was glad to have been a torchbearer as auto racing wasn't in the games. "Car racing would be a little complicated at the Olympics," Villeneuve joked. Earlier, Canada's first gold medal figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott, carried the torch into Parliament in Ottawa. The 81-year-old Scott hoisted the torch on a stand in Parliament as members of the chamber cheered her on, chanting "Go Canada, Go." Scott was 19 when she won at the 1948 St. Moritz Olympics in Switzerland. She remains the only Canadian woman to win Olympic gold in figure skating. At 1.57 meters (5-foot-2), Scott was just barely bigger than the lit torch. But the sprightly former athlete had no problems carrying it, saying the event was a great honor. "I can't tell you what a thrill this has been. Imagine an 81-year-old gal being invited to carry the torch into the Parliament buildings," Scott said. The Olympic torch has visited every province and territory in Canada. To date more than 4,000 torchbearers have carried the flame across approximately 25,000 kilometers (15,000 miles) en route to the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Games on Feb. 12.

share story