University of South Carolina

Steve Blair
Steve and Jane Blair at the Henley Royal Regatta in England

Inspirational torchbearer: Steve Blair carries the Olympic flame

By Karen Petit,

Steve Blair of the Arnold School of Public Health carried a torch for the Olympics.

Blair ran Thursday morning in Reading, England, along Bath Road from Janson Court to Tazewell Court – a distance of about 350 yards.

Blair was one of the 8,000 “inspirational torchbearers” selected to carry the Olympic Flame throughout the United Kingdom for the 2012 Olympic Games. His participation comes one week after celebrating his 73rd birthday on July 4.

A professor in the Arnold School's department of epidemiology and biostatistics and department of exercise science, Blair is representing the American College of Sports Medicine as a torchbearer. A past president of the ACSM, Blair was recognized by Coca-Cola North America, one of the Olympic sponsors, for his "leadership in helping others live positively."

Throughout the five decades of his career, Blair has carried the torch to promote the importance of physical activity to improve health and prevent disease. Carrying the Olympic flame is recognition of his life’s work.

"I am honored to be selected as a torchbearer for the Olympic Games," Blair said. "Although the men and women who participate in the Olympics are elite athletes who are committed to being physically active and embody peak fitness, the torchbearers represent people who are working to make a difference in the lives of others. Their remarkable stories are inspiring, and I look forward to being among these outstanding young people and adults."

Among those carrying the torch in Reading is Lizzie Rose, a 12-year-old competitive swimmer; Lee Umpleby, a 34-year-old community police officer recognized for his heroism in saving lives; Paul Cooke, 47, who runs an amateur boxing club that has helped youth compete at national and international events; Michelle Kwan, winner of many Olympic and other international medals in figure skating; and 21-year-old Amy Kunicki, who has helped youth and adults with autism and Down’s Syndrome to swim.

And for those who know Blair, he won’t be away from work, even during his Olympic adventure. He will attend a July 17 news conference in London for the medical journal The Lancet, which is publishing a special issue on physical activity and health. Blair is a co-author on two of the papers in that issue.

He also will be in Glasgow, Scotland, July 18–19, for the International Convention on Science Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS), one of the world’s prestigious sports science conferences. The event, which has the theme “Sport … inspiring a learning legacy,” is expected to attract 3,000 delegates from around the world.

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 07/03/12 @ 2:00 PM | Updated: 07/18/12 @ 12:15 PM | Permalink

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