On This Day: Shania Twain Carries Torch for 2010 Winter Olympics

by Jennifer Shea

Eleven years ago today, Shania Twain carried the torch for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Canadian-born country star participated in the Olympic torch relay, which ran for 106 consecutive days and stretched for 45,000 kilometers, or 27,961 miles. 

Shania Twain Carried the Torch

She brought the torch 400 meters and used it to light a cauldron in Timmins, a town in the eastern Canadian province of Ontario where Twain grew up, the Associated Press reported.

“I feel proud, very proud,” Twain said. “It’s a highlight of my life to be able to carry the flame, to light the cauldron.”

The temperature that night was 16 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. In fact, after event organizers tossed a dozen red beach balls into the crowd, the balls popped within seconds. 

“I know that sounds crazy, but it wouldn’t be Timmins if it wasn’t 40 below with the wind chill factor!” Twain said.

That particular torch had been lit in Olympia, Greece in October of 2009. It traveled around Canada before it was used to light the cauldron at the Olympic opening ceremony that February.

Watch the torch relay ceremony here:

Returning to Her Childhood Home

Twain has in the past opened up about her childhood in Timmins, which was full of deprivation, hunger and domestic violence. Her parents divorced when she was a child, and her stepfather had a violent temper. Her mother and stepfather often lacked the money to adequately feed and clothe the family.

Twain founded Shania Kids Can to combat the type of suffering that she endured as a child. The charity works with elementary schools in the U.S. and Canada to provide a clubhouse, procure healthy food and offer academic support and mentoring to underprivileged children.

“Many children still remain under the radar of social services as, while they endure family dysfunction, the neglect or abuse may not justify intervention according to the agencies guidelines,” Twain said. “These kids often go to school tired, hungry, emotionally stressed and not as ready to learn as the other students.”

Yet Twain seems to have outgrown her childhood dysfunction and made her peace with her childhood home. She put her hand to her heart repeatedly during the Olympic torch relay ceremony to suggest how much the place meant to her.