HE is about to become part of Basingstoke’s history – despite living more than 4,000 miles away.
Ethan Bergman, a professor of food science and nutrition at Central Washington University, on the western coast of the United States of America, has been selected as one of the five people who will carry the Olympic torch when it comes to the town on July 11.
Despite having never been to Basingstoke, the 60-year-old said he will be proud to be part of the massive occasion.
Speaking from Washington State, he told The Gazette: “I am really excited. I’m sure it will be a great event with lots of different people to meet. I am really looking forward to coming over and seeing the towns and villages in the area.”
In June, Ethan will be appointed President of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in America. One of the sponsors of the academy is the global drinks giant Coca Cola, who nominated him as one of its torch runners as part of its Live Positively community fitness campaign.
He said: “I think the philosophy that Coca Cola has through its Live Positively campaign, and our philosophy at the academy, is about trying to improve the nation’s health through better nutrition and fitness so this fits in well with our cause.”
Ethan, who has been to England a couple of times before, said he found out he was definitely taking part in January and will travel over with his wife Carla two days before the run before spending another week in England.
He said: “I try to run three times a week but at 60 years old I just try to keep myself moving.”
The five lucky torchbearers taking part in Basingstoke’s leg of the relay were announced last month – but pensioner Margie Doherty, of Abbey Road, Popley, is the only one actually running the torch through her home town.
The three others taking part in the 2.6 kilometre run through Basingstoke are Eric Robinson and Matthew Pankhurst, from Farnborough, and Charlie James, from Salisbury. A group of other torchbearers from Basingstoke, including ice-skating prodigy Danielle Harrison, of Pendennis Court, Winklebury, and Colin Godfrey, of Sonning Close, Kempshott, are taking part in similar events in Newbury, Salisbury and beyond.