Olympic Torch ceremony coming to campus June 3Special stop honors University's role in Olympic movement The Olympic Flame will come to campus and burn in a cauldron at the center of the Main Quadrangle on Monday, June 3, during an official Olympic Torch Relay ceremony. The flame will be carried into campus by runners accompanied by music and banners and will burn throughout a 30-minute celebration of the Olympic movement and the University's Olympic history.
During the course of the flame's 15,000-mile journey across the United States, more than 10,000 torchbearers will carry it. Chicago, with official stops in Grant Park and at the University, is the only city granted two ceremonies.
The torch's arrival on campus will commemorate a long-standing connection between the Olympics and the University, according to John MacAloon, Professor in the College and the Social Sciences Division and an expert on the Olympics. MacAloon has spent much of the last year working with Olympic officials, and he was instrumental in bringing the torch to campus.
The torch will be carried to Hyde Park following the first ceremony in Grant Park. After several other runners have carried the torch, a final runner -- yet to be chosen -- will enter the Main Quadrangle from 57th Street through Cobb Gate. The torchbearer will carry the Olympic Flame to a stage at the center of the Main Quadrangle and will assist President Sonnenschein in lighting the cauldron. The celebration will begin at 2:30 p.m. and will include performances by the Jesse White Tumbling Team, the Kenwood Academy Choir and bands from Hyde Park Career Academy and the Laboratory Schools. The official ceremony will begin with the arrival of the Olympic Flame at 3:10 p.m.
During the ceremony, MacAloon will describe the University's historic role in the Olympic movement. Larry Hawkins, Director of Special Programs, will represent the Institute for Athletics & Education that he founded at the University and describe its nationally recognized work to use sports as an educational-outreach tool for elementary- and secondary-school students. An official proclamation will be read by A.D. Frazier Jr., senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games. At the ceremony's conclusion, the torchbearer will relight the torch from the cauldron and leave campus by running east on 58th Street.
University students were the city's first Olympians, competing in track and field at the 1900 Games in Paris. The campus was selected as the site of the 1904 Olympics before the games were relocated to St. Louis to join the World's Fair there. University athletes won many medals and trophies at that Olympics, and some of these will be displayed during the ceremony.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the Mayor Daley Youth Foundation track team and the University of Chicago Track Club trained several athletes who became Olympians. University alumnus Ted Haydon, Professor in Physical Education & Athletics and founder of the track club, was track and field coach for U.S. Olympic teams in 1968 and 1972.