0NHRA POWERade Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin, Jr., was up early on Thursday, January 3, 2002, to be part of the .004 of one percent of the population to take part in the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay. All of the Torchbearers were instructed to...
0NHRA POWERade Pro Stock driver Jeg Coughlin, Jr., was up early on Thursday, January 3, 2002, to be part of the .004 of one percent of the population to take part in the 2002 Olympic Torch Relay.
All of the Torchbearers were instructed to assemble at a local Chevrolet dealer (Bobby Layman) at 4:30 AM. A wave of official Olympic Torchbearer white sweat suits filled the showroom area as the participants gathered and met for the first time.
Participants were then split into groups and directed to specific shuttle buses that would transport them to their assigned location and starting point. While on the bus everyone went through a brief introduction.
"Hearing the stories that everyone had on the bus was a real eye opener and really set the tone for what was about to happen. Some of the stories were amazing," said Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
As the bus traveled down Broad Street to the center of downtown Columbus, Ohio. The city skyline got brighter with each block the closer the bus got to the State Capital. The top of the LeVeque Tower was lit up with the symbolic colors of red, white and blue. Along the relay route the bus passed many onlookers who lined the street to be a part of the Olympic Sprit.
A precession of official Chevrolet vehicles let onlookers know that they were getting closer to seeing and experiencing what they all had come out for. Some gathered to cheer on friends and family, while others just wanted to catch a quick look of the Olympic flame.
"Running in the Olympic Torch Relay was a euphoric experience. When the flame was transferred to the torch that I was carrying from the previous Torchbearer it was very uplifting and it instantly put a smile on my face. I held the torch with my right-hand and the adrenaline kicked in as I started my leg of the 13,500 mile journey to The 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City," explained 2000 NHRA Pro Stock Champion.
The day was made even more special for Jeg Coughlin, Jr. The dated marked his wife Karen's birthday.
Hours after the flame went out on the torch that Jeg carried he said, "This is all just now starting to hit me. I will forever look at the Olympic Games differently and carrying the torch will be something that I will never forget."