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1976 Olympian getting different view of the torch run in Tri-Cities

Joy Fera is using the hill near her Tsawwassen home to train for her 300-metre jog up Laurentian Crescent to Rochester Avenue in the Olympic torch run tomorrow (Thursday).

Joy Fera is using the hill near her Tsawwassen home to train for her 300-metre jog up Laurentian Crescent to Rochester Avenue in the Olympic torch run tomorrow (Thursday).

It's a good thing she knows a thing or two about getting in shape for a big event.

A rower, Fera competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal the first year women's rowing was included in the Games. She and her teammates came in seventh in the coxed-fours, just slightly behind the "enhanced" East German athletes. She also won two world championship bronze medals, in 1977 and 1978.

Now, the recreational therapist is looking forward to an Olympic experience of a different kind.

"As a 1976 Olympic athlete, we were so busy training, I really didn't follow much about any torch relay," Fera recalled. She applied to be a torchbearer for the 1988 Games in Calgary but wasn't chosen. She put her name in for Canada's third torch run with her hopes high and found out last October that she had won a spot.

The run adds to her already busy Olympic schedule. Fera is on the Delta Spirit of BC committee and has been active in organizing the events there. She'll also spend the two weeks of the Olympics volunteering at the alpine skiing site in Whistler. Despite the hectic schedule, Fera said she's relishing the chance to be part of the excitement.

"For Canadian athletes, the only time we've been able to compete on home soil was in Montreal, Calgary and now here in Vancouver," she said. "It is very special when it's in your own country."

spayne@tricitynews.com