Fresno Pacific University grad is two-time Olympic torchbearer

You could say James Barnes carries quite a torch for the Olympics.

The Fresno Pacific University alumnus was among the torchbearers for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was also a bearer for the 1984 games in Los Angeles.

His recent run began at 10:26 a.m. Sunday, January 20 on the shore of Donner Lake near Tahoe. Two feet of snow sparkled and friends and family cheered alongside the two-lane road, but Barnes had his mind on more than the scenery that crisp and sunny morning. "It was an emotional run as I dedicated my ‘leg' to my younger brother, Jeff, who has been in a coma since neck surgery on December 27," he said. That evening Barnes accompanied 22 other torchbearers in South Lake Tahoe from the Nevada border to Heavenly Valley Ski Resort. "It was tiring but thrilling to observe others thrilled with their brief moments with the flame," he said.

Barnes also participated in a photo session and a gala at World Sports Café. He was given the torch he carried and the uniform he wore as well as a certificate, medal, personalized sweatshirt and torch pin.

The first run for Barnes, a resident of Visalia, Calif., who teaches fifth grade at Hurley Elementary School, took place July 18, 1984, in Paso Robles. Barnes earned a bachelor's degree at FPU in 1971, completed a teacher credential program in 1975 and a master's in 1987. He is also involved in Team In Training, a running group that raises money for research to cure blood-related cancers. Barnes' 2002 Olympic run was sponsored by Liberty Chevrolet, Selma, and Coca-Cola Company.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations