80 Pounds Gone, Now I'm Carrying the Olympic Torch

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Alison Yakel (ALLEYCAT12380) has been a SparkPeople member for a little more than a year, and she's lost 80 pounds and counting.

For the past few months, the 29-year-old happily married store clerk from Manitoba, Canada, has been working out with one goal in mind: Carrying the Olympic torch.

Alison had signed up with a Coke promotional website and noticed a promo seeking torch bearers. With the Vancouver Games approaching, this proud Canadian filled out the form and waited.

Soon after, she got an email asking her to submit a short story on how she makes an impact on the world around her.

"I didn't really know what to say," she said. "I always consider myself not the world's greatest writer for these kinds of things. I eventually did it by the deadline, something about how I like to pick up beer cans and bottles for the money aspect, but it also helps Winnipeg clean, as well as I walk to the beer store, so no emissions from the car, as well as the walking helps me lose the extra weight I'm trying to lose."

She forgot about the contest, then heard back from contest officials in October. A few of the original torch bearers had backed out, so she was chosen as a replacement.

She knows she'll be running on January 5, somewhere between Kenora, Ontario, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, in Canada. She'll also get a uniform!

"I do have to get there myself, but I can bring friends and/or family," she said. "There will be people there, running with me, just in case something bad might happen, like if I can no longer run or I injure myself. Its winter, with snow and possible ice on the road, you never know with Manitoba weather."

As one of the 12,000 torch bearers carrying the Olympic torch across Canada, Alison will run between 300 and 400 meters.

Alison has just 20 pounds to go until she reaches her go, and she says losing weight gave her the confidence to go after a dream she didn't even know she had.

"I don't think I would have entered the contest with Coke to be a torch bearer if I was at my original weight," she said.

Her torch bearer uniform fits fairly well, she said, and it's hanging in her closet as a reminder of her goal. She's counting down the days until January 5.

Wish Alison luck as she braves the cold Canada winter to carry the torch and become a part of Olympic history! Are there any other SparkPeople torch bearers out there?

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Not only will you be wearing your countries uniform proudly, a smile should adorn your very proud face. Great job and good luck. Report
this is a wonderful story congrat. i think it is great
woooohooooooo go ahead ! all the best ...................... Report
I'm so happy for you! Very inspirational! Report
Great article-way to go! Report
Congratulations, I entered a similar contest with Coke to enter my brother when the Olympics were in Utah. It was a dream he mentioned to me. Why, I don't know but they picked us both. He was able to light my torch. It is a very humbling,thrilling and proud experience and the people have wonderful uplifting stories. Just know you are an inspiration to everyone at SparkPeople. Report
That's awesome! Congratulations on achieving your goals, and kudos for inspiring the rest of us! :) Report
Ooo congrats Alison!!
I will be picking up the same flame as I'm carrying it in Calgary on January 20!!!! I'm totally bouncing off the walls! I hope your run was the amazing, uplifting experience you wanted it to be :D Report
Way to Go! what an inspiration you are to all of us! Report
WAY TO GO ALISON!!!!! Keep it going (down that is ;-) ) You can do it!!!
Thomas Report
Congrats to you! That is such an honor and great reward! Keep up the good work in 2010. Report
You go girl!!! Report
Congratulations on the weight loss and the honour to carry the torch. I attended the torch run as it passed through Oshawa ON and was surprised at how affected and proud I was by the experience. Report
Go, Alison, Go! Hold your head high, girl! :) Report
Hope you have fun today! and Congrat on the honor to carry the torch! Report
Hope your run was a great one today!!!! Congrats on all your accomplishments! Report
Alison, I know you are just floating from all of this excitement. I would be ! Well today is the day. May God be with you every moment and every step. Spark on friend . sandy Report
Congratulations on both fronts. Enjoy your run. Report
So very wonderful! You are setting a great example. I now know that I don't have to wait to hit the "magic number" to move forward with my dreams. Best wishes! Report
That is so cool. You will have to post pictures on your spark page. You must feel so proud. Good job!!! Report
Good Luck Tomorrow! You can do it! Report
This is so cool! 80 pounds! That is terrific! Enjoy yourself carrying that torch! Report
That is really exciting! Good luck on your Torch-carrying Run tomorrow!!!!!
WOO HOO! Report
Wow, that is really an honor to be a torch bearer. Good Luck and you look great. Report
Congrats! How exciting! Report
How exciting! Congratulations! Report
Congratulations!!!! I'm so jealous. I think it would be amazing to carry an Olympic torch on behalf of my country, (I'm originally from Canada), and will be rooting for you on the big day! Best of luck with everything. Report
Wishing you all the best and have lots of fun with this special gift. Report
That will be quite a story to tell one day. Its also something not easily made up. Report
What a motivating story! Congrats and have a great well deserved time:) Report
that is truly a once in a lifetime honor, good luck stay warm and have fun. Report
That is awesome! Congrats! Report
way to go! congrats! Report
Way to go Allison. Congratulations!! Report
Hi Alison..What a great story. Congratulations !! How excited you must be...what a honor to carry the torch. I wish you the very best..you'll be in my thoughts and prayers. Take care Alison....YOU GO GIRL !! Report
What an awesome responsibility and an honor. Just look what can happen with a dream and the guts to go after it. You should be honored and proud of your achievement. Keep up the good work, and best of luck to you! Report
Congrats. Job well done Report
Awesome acheivement! This is something you'll treasure all your life! You're part of history! Report
Congradulations! I met someone in Cartersville, Ga who carried the torch for the 96 Olympics in Atlanta. What a thrill to see her and the torch she carried! i was an auditor and everyone was thrilled to meet her!
Good luck,
Congrats, Alison. I am a Winnipegger and will be watching as you carry the torch on your stretch on January 5th. Be proud of all of your accomplishments, and of carrying the torch on behalf of all Canadians. GO GIRL (and keep warm)! Report
That's amazing! Way to go! Report
That is just awesome. Congratulations! What an honor for you.

Mary Anne Report
Congrats and way to go! Report
Allison Congratulations! You represent all of the Spark team members in such an honerable position. Report
What an honor!! You earned it!! Report
Congratulations! How honored you must be, some of us can only dream. Congratulations, too, on your weight loss! Keep up the good work. Report
congratulation on both your weight loss and carrying the olympic torch!!! 2 moments were you should feel very proud!! Report
Congratulations on your weight loss, your interest in the Olympic movement and being picked to be a Torch Bearer. Report
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