In 1996, Jeff England earned a place in Olympic history by carrying the torch on part of its journey to the Summer Games in Atlanta.
The former trucker is now president of Pride Transport in Salt Lake City and is proud that his city is hosting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. He doesn’t run as much as he used to because he’s tapered off the past few years, and his time is limited. Carrying the torch is a memory he cherishes, and he realizes that he was in the right place at the right time.
Pride Transport uses Qualcomm satellite systems in its trucks, and Qualcomm was a sponsor of the 1996 Olympic Summer Games. There were a few slots left on the run and a Qualcomm salesperson asked England if he wanted to participate.
“I thought it was great,” England says. “Many people were trying to get in and I was lucky. Others had to write why they wanted to carry it.”
England has his running uniform and torch in a display case at Pride Transport. He ran a half-mile and his route started in downtown Salt Lake City. He says people of all ages lined the streets and cheered him on.
“It was amazing,” he says. “I ran along and people cheered. I felt they were cheering for me and thought, ‘This is great!’ Really they were cheering for the torch and what it stands for.”
The executive still drives when he can, and on any given day can fill in when there is a shortage of drivers. He mainly drives on California runs, and there are more restrictions on his road time than there used to be.
“I can only go if there isn’t anything urgent going on the next day,” England says. “I love to drive and do it as often as I can. I’m disappointed if I can’t go.”