Barbara (Bobbie), daughter of Leo J. and Lois A. Latus of Hartford, is a
1971 graduate of Hartford High School and Nazareth College, Kalamazoo,
majoring in Spanish and Music. She completed her
teaching certification while living in Arizona and has been a kindergarten
teacher for fifteen years. She presently teaches at Copper Creek Elementary
School in Tucson, AZ. Bobby and her husband, Ken, live in AZ and have
two grown sons, Jason, an EMT in San Diego and Brian is in the Marines.
and friends nominated Bobbie in April and May, 2001. Two of her
students saw on TV where the Olympic Committee (O.C.) asked people to nominate
those who have inspired others. The theme of the 2002 Olympics was “Light
the Fire Within” and her students told their parents that “Mrs. O.” would be
a good candidate. The parents agreed and presented the idea to others.
The process began by writing letters to the O.C. telling why they felt
their candidate should be nominated.
“Mrs.O” was nominated by the parents of her students at
Copper Creek Elementary School and friends who sent letters to the
Olympic Committee stating why they felt “Mrs. O.” would be a good candidate
to be an Olympic Torch Bearer. Out of 210,000 nominations, only 11,500
candidates were chosen and 37 of these are in Tucson. The official
notification was received in September that Bobbie had been accepted as a
qualified runner and she would carry the torch on January 13, 2002 in Tucson,
The uniform was
ordered and a contract signed with the Committee stating that the uniform
would not be worn prior to the official run and they could no make any
alterations to the uniform other than sizing. They promised not to wear any
political or personal signs, logos or costume jewelry of any kind. The
uniform was not to be laundered prior to the run, although it could be
pressed slightly on the inside-not too close to the emblem. A letter stated that
runner need not wear all of the uniform, which included hat, gloves,
windbreaker and long sleeve shirt and pants. It was required that the pants
and either the shirt or the windbreaker be worn.
Torch Bearers were
assigned a designated meeting place the day of their run and taken by a
chartered bus, where they were individually dropped off at their designated running
area. Torch Bearers were not allowed to change the location of where they
were to run and could not bring any pets, other than a working dog, if necessary. The Olympic
contract also stated that nominee would run regardless of the weather.
Bobbie ran downtown Tucson at 12:29 p.m. (Tucson time) on
Sunday, January 13, 2002 for .2 of a mile (1/4 mile).
former students, students and community donated $400 to buy a replica of the
torch and stand, which was engraved with Bobbie's name and year of the
event. It was a surprise and was presented to her at an all-school