AMID all the excitement as Sheffield prepares for the Olympic torch to be carried through the city, there is one person who can say: “Been there, done that”.
Lucia Lorente carried the flame in her native Spain in 1992 when the Olympic Games were held in Barcelona — and still has the torch and her running shoes as souvenirs in her Sheffield home.
The mother of two, who lives off Ecclesall Road, recalled: “Back in 1989 my sister and I registered as volunteers and over the next three years helped at various events in Valencia where we lived.
“In the end all our names were put in a draw and I got chosen.”
Lucia ran a five-kilometre stretch outside Alicante which would suggest she was quite athletic.
“I used to play volleyball and cycled but I never did much running,” she said.
The only thing that did go wrong is that while many of her friends and family watched her along the route, her father and boyfriend managed to miss seeing her.
“We all got up at 4am and drove down to Alicante to be there for 5am when we were kitted out with trainers and T-shirt and stuff.
“I wasn’t due to run until after 9am so they went off to a bar to have some breakfast.
“When they came out they found that the road was closed off and couldn’t get through to see me.”
The boyfriend is now husband Ian, so is evidently forgiven.
They had met when Lucia came to do a year’s course in Cardiff in 1990 and she has lived in Britain for 20 years, moving to Sheffield in 2000.
The mother of girls aged 14 and 11, Lucia has been chair of the PTA at High Storrs School and works for Sheffield City Council in regeneration and planning.
Like most people, she is happy to see the 2012 Olympics in Britain.
“It’s brought back a lot of memories for me and I expect I will go with the girls into town to see the flame pass by.”