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Oshawa Announces Torchbearer for Pan Am Games

Oshawa Announces Torchbearer for Pan Am Games

March 25, 2015 – The City of Oshawa is proud to announce Norma Douglas as the Oshawa community torchbearer for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games Torch Relay, presented by President’s Choice® and OLG. The torch relay will visit Oshawa on Friday, June 5 and will feature Norma Douglas as the community torchbearer. The 84 year old Oshawa resident competed at the 1955 Pan American Games in Mexico City, where she not only participated in the official debut of team synchronized swimming at that level of competition, but also won a silver medal for Canada as a member of the Peterborough Ornamental Swim Club.

Pictured here celebrating the announcement is (left to right) Matt Douglas, Cris Douglas, Norma Douglas, Mayor John Henry and Ryan Douglas. Missing from the photo is Norma’s grandson, Kyle Douglas, who celebrated via FaceTime.

 “I feel very privileged – I never thought this would happen to me!” said Norma. “This is a nice finishing touch to my Pan Am Games experience; it’s like icing on the cake – a little extra at the end.” Mrs. Douglas’ love for the sport did not end when she got out of the pool; she became a well-known coach, synchronized swimming referee and a highly sought after judge. In addition to being Ontario’s judging chairman for a period, Norma traveled coast to coast judging, training other judges, and providing seminars throughout Canada and the United States.

“I am looking forward to being part of the Pan Am Games again. My biggest memory from the 1955 Pan Am Games in Mexico City is walking into the Opening Ceremonies with the multitude of talented athletes. With Canada being so high in alphabetical order we got to watch everyone come in after us – it is a moment I’ll never forget.”

Norma founded the Oshawa Synchronized Swimming Club, now the Durham Synchro Club, in the early 1970s when her family moved to Oshawa from Peterborough, and assisted when Oshawa hosted the Canadian Synchronized Swimming Nationals as a referee.

According to Norma, the Douglas family has always been very community-oriented. Her children and grandchildren are active members of the Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, Community Living, Oshawa Minor Lacrosse, Epilepsy Durham, Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre, and run an Oshawa-based business, while Norma is currently active within the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres.

Nowadays, Norma does not spend as much time in the pool, but ensures she stays active and healthy. “I won’t do anything differently than I normally do to [prepare for the relay]. I’ll walk on the treadmill daily, and do some walking outside.”

“Norma Douglas will proudly carry the Pan Am flame as Oshawa’s community torchbearer,” said Mayor John Henry. “Oshawa is excited to be a part of this historic journey and we look forward to showing our community to the world.”

During the 41-day torch relay, each of the 3,000 torchbearers will complete, on average, a 200-metre relay segment. The torch will be carried by more than 60 modes of transportation and exceed 5,000 kilometres on the road and 15,000 kilometres by air.

“The torch is a unique symbol of the Pan Am Games and carries a powerful energy that will unite Canadians,” said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. “The torchbearers will proudly carry the flame through more than 130 communities, igniting the Pan Am spirit as they go.”

Featured on the torch are the United We Play! pictograms — colourful depictions of people in motion —symbolizing the assembly of athletes through the celebration of sport and culture. The aluminum torch stands 65 centimetres high and weighs 1.2 kilograms (or roughly the same weight as a baseball bat). With a burn time of 10 to 12 minutes, the flame can withstand winds of up to 70 kilometres per hour and is visible in all kinds of weather conditions.