Suffolk University's John Gilpatrick to Carry Olympic Torch

12/17/2001

Local hockey hero and medical wonder John Gilpatrick will participate in the 2002 Winter Olympics - as a member of the Olympic Torch Relay Team.

"I'm very excited to have this opportunity," said Gilpatrick, 28, of Hanover. "It's a tremendous honor and one that I am extremely proud of. I can't wait for that day to come."

That day is Thursday, December 27, 2001. At precisely 3:26 p.m., Gilpatrick, dressed in his Olympic warm-up suit and matching stocking hat, will hold the Olympic torch up high and walk the customary 2/10ths of a mile. His short journey will go from Melnea Cass Boulevard to Harrison Avenue in Boston (passing by the Boston Medical Center, where ironically, he was transported to on the evening of his injury - January 25, 1996).

"It's not a long walk, but I'm just thrilled to be part of this whole Olympic experience," said Gilpatrick. "This is something I will never forget."

Gilpatrick captured the heartstrings of an entire nation last year when he recovered from a serious hockey injury to walk again after 4 ½ years in a wheelchair. A 2000 Suffolk University graduate and current second-year student at Suffolk University Law School, Gilpatrick is also an assistant coach of the Suffolk men's hockey team.

He plans on donating his Olympic torch to the Suffolk University Law School. "It's the least I could do because Suffolk has done so much for me over the years," said Gilpatrick, who began the John Gilpatrick Spinal Cord Foundation earlier this year to help people meet their technology needs. "The Suffolk University community has always been there to lend me a helping hand. The people have bent over backwards to make sure I have everything I need."

Robert Smith, Dean of Suffolk University Law School, is impressed with Gilpatrick's thoughtful gesture. "We are honored to be on the receiving end of this unique gift from such a special person," said Smith. "John is an inspirational young man who has beaten the odds. His Olympic torch will be displayed as a symbol exemplifying courage, spirit and perseverance."

For more information, please contact Tony Ferullo at 617-573-8448.

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