Sam Sullivan to welcome torch to his old neighbourhood

By Kristen Thompson, Metro Vancouver

Sam Sullivan has waited a long time for the Olympics to come to his hometown, and tomorrow the former mayor gets to carry the torch through the neighbourhood where he grew up — Commercial Drive.

“It’s a real (sense of) completing the circle,” Sullivan said. “(Having) to leave my neighbourhood because of my disability, and then to be able to come back and have this ability to connect with my past — it’s really quite amazing.”

The image of Sullivan, then Vancouver’s mayor, receiving the Oslo flag in Turin and spinning in his chair has become iconic and made Sullivan the face of the Games in Vancouver.

“I’m amazed at all the people from different countries (who) … recognize me (and) still think I’m the mayor,” he said.

When Sullivan lost the mayoral seat to Gregor Robertson in late 2008, he told Metro Vancouver he was especially disappointed at not being able to welcome the world as the Olympic mayor.

As for the anti-Olympic protesters who are expected to line the streets for the portion of the torch relay along Commercial Drive, Sullivan said it “doesn’t phase” him.

“I’m used to protests,” Sullivan said. “It validates me.”

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