Wife nominates husband to be torchbearer

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Barron Lauderbaugh's biggest fan may be his wife, Stacy.

After all, she's the one who nominated him to carry the Olympic torch part of the way through Carson City on Jan. 21.

On the application, she cited his longtime involvement with the capital's Special Olympics program. In 28 years, he has coached most events and is now the program's area coordinator.

But just to make sure it doesn't go to his head, Jim MacDonald, who works with Lauderbaugh in the Nevada Department of Transportation's multimedia department, puts a different spin on his selection.

"He procrastinates getting stuff done at home, so she bought the torch to light a fire under him," he joked.

Lauderbaugh, 39, is chief of multimedia services at the Nevada Department of Transportation. He and his staff are responsible for the maps, publications, displays, photos and computer renderings designed to show people what the state has planned. They also help maintain the department's Web site.

He said he never thought the Olympic organizers would pick him for the honor, but his wife had no doubt.

"She was thinking no way could they deny me. But when I got the packet, it was like, wow," he said.

Now that he has the invitation and the white sweat suit emblazoned with the Olympic logo, he's looking forward to his two-tenths of a mile carrying the Olympic flame.

"I get to see special Olympic athletes do it all the time," he said. "The excitement they generate is really cool. So now I get to feel a little of that excitement."

And so do some of the special athletes he coaches: "Hopefully, we'll have a whole crew of them there."

He'll be joined by Stacy, son Brent, 4, and 17-month-old daughter Delany and probably a number of other friends.

Lauderbaugh will take his torch past Lowe's to Carson Street Jan. 21 at 8 a.m. It's not that far to run, so training won't exactly be necessary.

"My only great fear is I'm going to trip or something," he said.

When he finishes the run, he'll have a few mementos including the torch he carried, which his wife and mother purchased for him as a Christmas present.

He'll also have the white, Olympic sweat suit. But he doubts he'll get to wear it again.

"It barely fits now," said Lauderbaugh. "Once it's washed, it's my wife's."

The Olympic Torch will arrive in Carson City on Jan. 21 at 7:50 a.m. The Nevada Appeal will feature Carson City's 14 torch bearers through Jan. 20. Follow the torch's path at www.slc2002.org.


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