Carrying the flame

Megan Nunn

Photo by Megan Downs

It takes thousands of runners to carry the Olympic flame on its 65-day, 13,500-mile journey across the nation. When the flame came through Northern Nevada this week, University of Nevada, Reno, freshman Megan Nunn, a business major, did her small part, running two-tenths of a mile down Ninth Street. Friends and family members say that leadership seems to come naturally for Nunn, 19. While a student at Reno High School, she played golf, basketball and softball. She was also active in the school’s student council. As a UNR student, she’s become a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Who nominated you to be a torchbearer?

A friend from my softball team nominated me. She said I was an inspiration and a leader on and off the field. I was honored that a friend and teammate thought so highly of me. It was very flattering.

How did it feel to be nominated?

Initially I was surprised and very honored. On the day we ran, a bunch of the torchbearers got together and shared why they were nominated. It was a humbling experience because there was a girl there who had a heart transplant and someone who had had a brain tumor. They had overcome so many obstacles, and I was overwhelmed.

Who would you nominate to bear the torch?

My sister. She should have been there before me. She has a hearing disability, but it hasn’t stopped her from doing some amazing things.

Did you receive torchbearing lessons?

Two weeks before we ran, we were sent the specifics of where we were running, along with a jogging suit, gloves and a hat. Then, on the day we ran, we met with the officials. They explained the order in which we would be running. They told us we could walk, run or skip. We were just supposed to enjoy ourselves. They told me that when I received that torch, I would be the only person in the world advancing it all the way up to the Olympics. It was exciting and unbelievable.

What were you thinking before you were handed the torch?

“I hope it lights.” But I really wanted to see everyone that had come to see me rather than focus on where I was running. It was great to see everyone who had came to support me and to see how excited everyone else was.

Was the torch heavy?

Yes. It was three and a half pounds. In the beginning, it was nothing because I was full of adrenaline. By the end, it started to hurt my hand. But it wasn’t bad.

Were you afraid of dropping it?

No, I wasn’t. [An Olympic official observed] that you wouldn’t be able to pry it out of our hands if you tried.