In Vancouver for the First Annual Leaders' Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger began his day bright and early by carrying the Olympic Flame along the Sea Wall of Vancouver's beautiful Stanley Park. The flame glowed especially bright against the backdrop of the sky and Vancouver Harbor at sunrise.
British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell joined the Governator and both enjoyed fans and Olympic spectators who turned out by the thousands to watch this historical run on the Opening Day of Olympic Winter Games 2010.
Since mid-November when the flame arrived in Vancouver from Greece, each day it has been shepherded lovingly from one town to another, all over Canada. Torchbearers have carried it on horseback, in sailboats, on wheelchairs, on dogsleds and even by air when it went up to the Arctic Circle.
The Leaders' Forum of the Pacific Coast Collaborative brings together Washington State, Oregon, British Columbia and California to discuss the economy and environment and other areas of mutual interest. In addition to Governor Schwarzenegger and Premier Campbell, Christine Gregoire, Governor of Washington and Oregon's Secretary of State Kate Brown were also in attendance.
The region of Oregon, Washington and B.C. is sometimes referred to as "Cascadia," alluding to more of a bio-regional and geographical area rather than geo-political boundaries. To include California, with its forward-thinking policies on environmental issues and its wealth of natural resources, is a logical move.
The Pacific Coast Collaborative was formed in June 2008 as a "partnership for leadership, co-operative action and a common voice on issues affecting the Pacific coast region." Alaska is also a member of the collaborative. Its ongoing priorities are Ocean Conservation and Climate Change.
International icon Arnold Schwarzenegger was invited to carry the torch on the day of the Official Opening of the Olympics 2010 by his friend, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell. He was, in fact, one of 20 Americans to carry the Olympic torch during its 106 day relay throughout Canada. Two American Olympians also enjoyed the honor, Shawn Johnson, gymnast and darling of the Beijing games and Taekwando Olympic Gold champion Steven Lopez both ran with the torch during its cross-country journey.
Crowds shouted their warm greetings to the former Mr. Universe Body Builder as he passed by. "He looks so strong," remarked a child who got to see the Terminator up-close, in person. As Schwarzenegger came to the point along the Stanley Park Seawall where he passed the flame off to Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2010 Olympic Organizing Committee, one of the assembled fans yelled out a greeting in Ahhnold-speak "Arh, Arh, Get to the Choppa." The packed in crowd erupted in laughter, and even the Governator busted a smile. You had to be there.
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