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Mormon brothers-in-law proudly carry Olympic torch through Toronto area

TORONTO — Part of the Olympic flame's 45,000-kilometer journey through Canada included being carried by two Mormon brothers-in-law.

Robert Korver and Ryan Babcock each carried the Olympic torch on a 400-meter relay through the Toronto area during December in celebration of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Each applicant had to write a pledge about what they would do to help strengthen Canada through strong family values.

Korver, of the Hamilton Mountain Ward, Hamilton Ontario Stake, pledged to raise awareness for Canadians with disabilities. His 8-year-old son, Owen, inspired his pledge. Owen has Asperger's syndrome, along with a facial deformity caused by a tumor, and a third disorder.

Part of his path through Hamilton took the torch along a rare indoor route through a children's hospital at McMaster University, so children who use the facility could celebrate with the flame.

"I'm in (the hospital with Owen) every month, and I know what goes on there," Korver said. "Some of those kids are going through terrible things, and it was hard to fight the tears back. I wanted to give them their day in the sun."

Babcock, of the Bowmanville Ward, Oshawa Ontario Stake, and his wife, Mary Ellen, both applied to be torchbearers. Ryan, a coach of three different sports at the local high school, and Mary Ellen, a new mother at the time, both pledged to be role models for personal fitness — to schoolchildren and new mothers alike. Ryan carried the Olympic torch through Newmarket, Ontario, while Mary Ellen carried their 18-month-old son, Ryker, on her back.

"It was neat being a part of it. The adrenaline was flowing," Ryan Babcock said. "Carrying the flame with my family running alongside me was what I'll remember most. It was wonderful to feel the spirit of the Olympic Games as a family."

Korver agreed.

"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was young when the Games were in Calgary (in 1984). It was an honor," Korver said. "To have two family members running with the torch made it a special moment. It's made our families closer."