“It was a thrill of a lifetime,” says Walton-Hurley, “and the start of my journey to be an Olympian in 1964.” She went on to compete for the U.S. team at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria, where she finished 14th in the women’s downhill. (And she still rips today!)
This is Walton-Hurley’s story, as reported by the Donner Summit Historical Society:
“When I was selected to carry the 1960 Winter Olympic Torch into Squaw Valley the day before the Olympics were to open, I was thrilled. My good friend Babette Haueisen was going to pass it to me at the parking lot leading to the Olympic Stadium. We had had very little snow in February and the way to the stadium was with straw and snow. Babette arrived using barrel staves for skis and with the Torch and a small following. She handed me the Torch and I slid across the parking lot, Torch held high, to the Olympic Stadium where the Sacramento Bee photographer shot a photo that declared ‘The Olympic Torch has arrived!’
I was 18 at the time and a top Junior racer in Far West. The relay involved some 600 people starting in Los Angeles and down the summit, along old 40 to 89 and into Squaw Valley. My mother arranged for a good friend, Jack Samples, to find a blue ski suit for me to wear. There was very little fanfare or people at the event. The next day the Torch was taken by Andrea Mead Lawrence to the stadium and handed the torch to skater Kenneth Charles Henry who did a lap around the stadium before lighting the cauldron from which the Olympic Flames would burn throughout the Games.”
For a very thorough and detailed history (and some great photographs) of the 1960 torch relay through California, go to page 10 of the Donner Summit Historical Society’s monthly newsletter:
How cool is that?
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