Oklahomans, including Coach Bob Stoops, carry Olympic torch through Oklahoma

Friday, January 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Olympic flame arrived in Oklahoma Friday, the midpoint of its 65-day, serpentine journey through 46 states, and one of the first persons to carry it was Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops.

Dressed in a white and purple Olympic windbreaker, Stoops smiled and jogged with the torch held high past a crowd of people waving American flags.

He mounted a stage in the city's Bricktown area and lit a cauldron.

``It was exciting, one of the special moments of my life,'' he said. ``Thank you for the honor.''

Olympic gymnasts Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner also carried the torch. They ran together, each with one hand on the torch.

The torch arrived by a police-escorted automobile caravan from Kansas. It was to arrive by train, but the train trip became delayed by technical problems with the flame cauldron on a railroad car. The cauldron went out, but the flame continued to burn in two lanterns on the train.

About 60 people carried the torch in Oklahoma.

About 11,500 people will carry the flame 13,500 miles by air, train, ship, dog sled and snowmobile to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games beginning Feb. 8.