Conor McAdam, a fourteen year-old boy with cerebral palsy, was one of the few privileged people who will get to run with the Olympic torch. It will be making its way to London for this year’s Olympic games scheduled to open in London this summer.
McAdam is a talented table tennis player, but he is first and foremost an inspiration to those that know him. He attends the Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr, and lives in Dundonald in Ayrshire. When McAdam arrived at 7am at the Carrick Academy in Maybole he was given his white uniform which he wears when he plays table tennis for the Scottish National Disability Table Tennis squad. A few minutes later Conor was briefed along with his fellow torchbearers by the Olympic torch relay organizers about what to expect and what to try not to do. Conor said: “We were told to keep it away from our face if we had to change hands and don’t keep it too close in case you burn your hair.”
After the briefing, a bus took the torchbearers to their drop-off points for the relay where each one is a link in the tradition of bringing the Olympic flame to its resting place for the duration of the games. At about 10:10am a torchbearer arrived at the place where Conor was waiting, and his torch was lit, and he began his responsibility of carrying the Olympic flame. During the 350-yard route Conor held the flame high as he jogged while crowds of people cheered him on. About five minutes later Conor’s task was accomplished as he transferred the flame to the next runner, and got back on the bus which was following the relay.
This is how Conor McAdam described his experience:
“I was really nervous at the start in case I dropped it and I was a bit shaky when I started running. I soon got into it and started to enjoy it. It was a brilliant feeling and I loved it. I couldn’t wave though, as I had to keep my balance. The flame was heavy at the top, because of the burner, but it was OK at the bottom. It was amazing to be carrying the Olympic flame and I really want to do it again.”
Conor’s mother Fiona commented on her son’s achievement.“He has had a good life but it has not been easy. He has had to put up with folk staring at him.”
Fighting back tears, Fiona added: “When he lit the Olympic flame and held it, I just crumpled. I thought of everything he has been through and I was overjoyed for him. I was so happy. He was standing there holding the Olympic torch and he had earned it. It has made his teenage years.”
Andy McAdam, Conor’s father also shared the special moment. “It was amazing and very emotional for us all. The crowd was magnificent and they kept him going along the way.” Conor, who takes part in the Bank of Scotland Local Hero Program said: “It was the most special day of my life.”