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Dr. James carries the Olympic torch

Sept. 1, 2000
It`s just your typical story. American boy meets Australian girl. American boy marries Australian girl. American boy is asked to play on the Australian Olympic basketball team because he is married to an Australian girl. Twenty-eight years later, American boy runs the Olympic torch in Australia, leading up to the start of the 2000 Summer Games this month in Sydney.

It`s just your typical story. American boy meets Australian girl. American boy marries Australian girl. American boy is asked to play on the Australian Olympic basketball team because he is married to an Australian girl. Twenty-eight years later, American boy runs the Olympic torch in Australia, leading up to the start of the 2000 Summer Games this month in Sydney.

OK, so maybe it isn`t your typical story, but it`s certainly been a fairy tale for Dr. Ken James of Seattle.

During his junior year of dental school, Dr. James ventured with his future wife to Melbourne for a three-month trip to see her parents. While in Australia, he played basketball for a local team and soon became one of its best players. How good? When Dr. James graduated from dental school, he was asked to try out for the Australian national basketball team. He made the squad and participated in the now-infamous 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Now flash-forward. Dr. James, who has a practice in Seattle, received a call shortly after Sydney is named as the host site for the 2000 Olympics. As an ex-Australian Olympian, he was asked to carry the torch during one leg of the continent-wide run.

They gave me the pick of the litter, and I chose to run in Broome, which is in the northwest corner of Australia, Dr. James recalled. it`s a town of 12,000 people. Everyone thought I was crazy for picking Broome, but I had never been there and I knew seeing the torch would be more exciting for the people who lived in a small town.

Dr. James ran on Cable Beach in Broome, alongside the ocean in what he describes as a beautiful setting. Picture the Oregon coast and that`s Cable Beach.

And how does running the torch compare to playing in the Olympics?

It`s peaches and strawberries, he said. One was pure enjoyment and the other was team competition.

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