CHEBEAGUE ISLAND, Maine —- A quick trip, over icy waters, reveals an island with a one-of-a-kind resident.
Beverly Johnson is a lobsterman, plumber and Olympic torch bearer.
“It really started in 1978, when I saw an article in Runner magazine,” she recalled.
Johnson applied, wrote a letter, and began to train, no easy task on Chebeague Island.
“I just kept running in circles,” Johnson said.
Eventually her passion and personality pushed her over the top.
Johnson was one of 52 torch bearers chosen from across the country, to march the flame into the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.
Starting in Yorktown, Virginia, the group ran, mile after mile, through big cities and small towns, headed to Lake Placid.
“The streets were lined with people the whole way, except in the middle of the night, but even in the middle of the night people were waiting for hours for us to come through,” Johnson said.
Their uniform, a distinct yellow and red, meant to represent the flame.
Almost 40 years later, Johnson has held on to everything.
From the torch, to a pair of L.L. Bean gloves.
“We took turns wearing these gloves to carry the torch, because they were so much warmer than the gloves they provided for us,” Johnson said.
Even a pair of custom sneakers made for her in Maine, after the original sponsor ran out of her size.
“They made me up my own pair of Nike shoes and I liked Nike at the time, and so I used these for quite a while,” Johnson said.
Every four years, Johnson reflects back, at a time when the country embraced the Olympic spirit.
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