UNC decathlete joins in Olympic torch relay
Posted June 15, 2012
Chapel Hill, N.C. — The Olympic torch is making its way around the United Kingdom to London for the Opening Ceremonies right now for the 2012 Olympics and one University of North Carolina athlete got the unique opportunity to be a part of the relay.
Joe Hutchinson competes in the decathlon for the UNC track team, a rarity in the days of specialized athletes. But the freshman from Bowerhill, Melksham has become somewhat of a star in the small town in the UK. So much so that he was the easy choice to represent his neighbors by carrying the flame - guided by police escort.
"You get mobbed by the people standing on the side of the road. That's when I was like, 'this is a massive thing,'" Hutchinson said. “My school nominated me; my P.E. teacher. It was part of a competition and I won which I was really grateful for."
Realizing the honor, Hutchinson flew home to England, during exams and track season, to take part in the relay. It was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"It made me proud because so many great people have done it and I was one of those people,” he said. “I haven't done much compared to them."
Hutchinson ran about 600 meters with the torch on May 23.
Hutchinson hopes this is just the start of his Olympic memories, though. He wants to represent his country in Track and Field events during the 2016 games. Right now, he's going to enjoy playing a small part in getting the flame to London.
"It's going to be special,” he said. “Maybe one day I can be in the stadium for the Opening ceremonies."