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Paralympic Winter Games a triumph of spirit

First Presidency again passes torch

LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley passes the Paralympic torch to Margaret Stocks during the torch run Mar 7th, 2002. Allred/photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley holds up the Paralympic torch after receiving itduring the torch run Mar 7th, 2002. Allred/photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
20180319 LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley receives the Paralympic torch from Pres. Monson during the torch run Mar 7th, 2002. Allred/photo Jeffrey D. Allred Deseret News Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley kisses torch bearer Carrie Snoddy as President Monson looks on during the Paralympic torch run Mar 7th, 2002. Allred/photo Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

There weren’t quite as many cheering the flame as there were a few weeks ago. But ask Margaret Stocks if she cared. She trotted east on South Temple in Salt Lake City carrying a Paralympic torch that President Gordon B. Hinckley had lit himself. She was so excited she had to be pointed in the right direction.

Sister Stocks of the Brigham City 2nd Ward, Brigham City Utah Box Elder Stake, wasn’t the only one excited. Dozens gathered in front of the Church Administration Building March 7 to see President Hinckley and his counselors in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust, receive and pass the Paralympic Flame on its way to Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic 2002 Winter Games.

Standing on the steps of the historic building on a cold afternoon with several members of the Quorum of the Twelve behind them, the First Presidency welcomed the flame from torchbearer Carrie Snoddy of Park City, Utah. To cheers and applause, Miss Snoddy, who is 24 years old and has Cri-du-Chat (which is French for “Cry of the Cat,” a chromosomal disorder), made her way up the steps where she handed her torch to President Faust, who handed it to President Monson, who then passed it to President Hinckley.

The Church president raised the torch for all to see. “Welcome, welcome, to the Paralympics, to these great athletes who have excelled!” he said to the crowd. “Go forward! Win the race! Claim the pennant! Be happy, be happy. We’re all with you. We’re all rooting for you. We want you to succeed, and we hope that this will be a great and marvelous and wonderful occasion for everyone who participates. Let everyone be a winner. Hurray!”

Church President Gordon B. Hinckley holds up the Paralympic torch after receiving it during the torch run on March 7, 2002.
Church President Gordon B. Hinckley holds up the Paralympic torch after receiving it during the torch run on March 7, 2002. | Credit: Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

President Hinckley then turned toward Sister Stocks, who held up her torch for him to light. There were more cheers and applause as her torch flickered to life and she trotted down the steps and down South Temple in what was called “The Journey of Fire,” the theme of the Salt Lake Paralympic Games 2002. Volunteers with the Salt Lake Organizing Committee returned Miss Snoddy’s torch.

Even after the torch had passed, people still lingered, watching Church leaders greet her and her family, including her mother, Cathy Downs; her father, Ed Snoddy; and her step-father, Don Wright. “I’m glad to meet you,” President Hinckley told the young woman, who was so thrilled she jumped up and down beside the Church president. Then, to the delight of the crowd, President Hinckley bent down and kissed her on the cheek.

Afterward, her mother told the Church News: “It is just incredible. It’s a total honor [to carry the torch]. She’s 24 years old, and we never thought that she would ever do this. It’s quite an accomplishment to have this here in our hometown, and it’s just the coolest thing we’ve ever done. We pulled it off.”

She added that her daughter’s disease is rare; only four or five others in the state have Cri-du-Chat. Though not LDS, she said seeing her daughter pass her torch to President Hinckley was “very, very powerful for us. I think [Carrie] felt this was something totally wonderful.

“You could feel the excitement in the air. It was a once-in-a-lifetime for her to do. So many people have never got so close to [President Hinckley]. They live all their lives looking from afar. She was able to do it hands-on (referring to handing him the torch and receiving the kiss on the cheek). It was pretty wonderful.”

E-mail: julied@desnews.com

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