Published in the January 14, 2009 issue of The Nugget.
300 metres of heaven
by Linda Hoang
When Steve Parent-Korbie was born with cerebral palsy, doctors said he only had a five per cent chance of living past the first 24 hours, and if he did, he’d either become paralyzed or mentally challenged.
Parent-Korbie, now 36-years-old and working as a NAIT systems analyst, has not only defied those odds, but bore the Olympic flame for 300 metres this week as it came through the city on Day 76 of the Olympic Torch Relay.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to try and do. I get to say for the rest of my life that I actually ran with the Olympic flame,” Parent-Korbie said with a bright smile.
Though he normally uses forearm crutches, for safety reasons, Parent-Korbie carried the Olympic flame using a wheelchair.
He had been dreaming about being a part of the Olympic Torch Relay ever since the age of 14, when he watched the 1988 relay in Calgary and one particular figure caught his eye.
“There was a torch bearer in a wheelchair,” he said with a smile, seated in his own wheelchair. “When I got to see that, it kind of stuck in my brain.”
“What I’ve had to go through in my life to keep my mobility and independence, I relay that to the dedication that the athletes have within their own sports,” Parent-Korbie said, explaining how he views his connection to the Olympics. “The torch bearer from before inspired me and if I inspire others, than that’s great.”
Parent-Korbie, who says he will keep and treasure his Olympic torch forever, had been counting down the days leading up his turn to carry the flame and continues to countdown now to the start of the 2010 Winter Olympics.
“I love everything about the Olympics,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or your background, the world comes together during the Olympics.”
By February 12, the Olympic flame will complete its journey, and will have traveled a total of 45,000 kilometres over 106 days from coast-to-coast-to-coast of the country.