As a former high-performance athlete, Christie Bardecki knows the value of nutrition.
In spreading the word to her students at Lord Lansdowne Public School, she has not only helped them stay healthy and well-nourished, but she has also earned a spot as a TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games torchbearer.
Bardecki, a teacher at the school, is no newcomer to the Pan Am Games, having won a silver medal in water polo in the 2003 Games. Despite those ties, it was her work on Lord Lansdowne’s nutrition program that earned her the torchbearer nod.
She was named to the torch relay squad by sponsor President’s Choice.
“President’s Choice believes in nourishing the mind and body and that’s something we really believe in here at the school,” she said. “You can really see the difference in our kids and the way they perform when they have a healthy snack in the morning.”
The Leslieville resident is eager to watch the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and will be cheering on Canadian athletes as they compete on home soil.
“Our Pan Am Games (in which she won silver) were quite different,” she said. “That was in the Dominican Republic, so it will definitely be good for the athletes to have a hometown crowd cheering for them.”
Curt Harnett, Canada’s chef de mission for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, officially welcomed Bardecki to the torch relay team at Lord Lansdowne on Thursday, April 30. He said Bardecki was the ideal community representative for the relay.
“It’s been amazing to witness the great work that so many teachers do, and Christie goes above and beyond, making sure kids, classes and the school as a whole has nutritious snacks, which are a key to performing well,” he said. “A nourished mind is an open and positive mind, and I’m pretty honoured to get to meet so many great people in the community making this kind of difference.”
The relay will see Bardecki run between 200 and 400 metres, carrying the two-and-a-half pound torch aloft.
“Some people are training by running with a baseball bat, but you have to do that in a very conservative environment, because you might scare some people,” Harnett quipped.
Bardecki has not been told which leg of the torch relay she’ll be running, apart from the fact that “it will be on July 8 and it will be in my neighbourhood.”
The torch relay will run from May 30 through July 10. For more information on the relay route, visit www.toronto2015.org/torch-relay/pan-am-games