January #78 : Torch Song - by Tim Murphy

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

Generation Next

2002 For Beginners

The Rainy Season

Ashcroft Goes to Pot

Statistical Significance

China Syndrome

Qatar Players

The Rights Stuff

Suicide Bomb

Con Condoms

Sex Pistols

Say What?

Female Trouble I

Female Trouble II

Newbie Trap

Feds Nix Lipo Fix

Who's Sore-y Now?

E & Thee

Tranny Pan

Dot the Eyes

Life in Wartime

Accidental Czar

Mailbox

Torch Song



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

January 2002

Torch Song

by Tim Murphy

After a lifetime carrying a flame for the Olympics, Paul Harris gets to do it for real

Last Fall, Coca-Cola sent me a release asking if I'd sign and send it back with a photo. I was like "What?" They said that to find the 11,500 Americans to bear the Olympic torch to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Games in February, they held an essay contest on how someone embodied the Olympic spirit. A friend of mine -- I still don't know who it was -- submitted an essay on how I've lived all these years with HIV, was in the first trial for AZT and have done lots of AIDS awareness work. The theme is "light the fire within." So I guess I'm a fire starter.

I've been an Olympic nut all my life. I don't care if it's the luge competition, I'll sit and watch. I remember begging my parents to let me stay up to watch Olga Korbutt compete in 1972. Have I ever cried during the Olympics? Yes, after Greg Louganis burst his head open and won the medal anyway. When he was up there on the podium and they played the national anthem, I was a blithering idiot.

My favorite part of the winter games is men's figure skating -- I'll be glued to the TV. I'm betting this year on Ilia Kulik from Russia -- he's got a little bit of everything. In women's, I'm praying for a U.S. sweep led by Michelle Kwan. I used to be a competitive skater. When you're doing it right, you can tell. It feels like flying.

I was diagnosed with GRID when I was 17. I had eight T cells, which I named after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The doctor told me to go home and be with my family because I was going to die. But I got tired of sitting on my butt watching Oprah, so I stopped AZT, felt better and went back to work. I had a few bouts after that, but today I'm undetectable with 420 T cells. I still jog, rollerblade and ice skate. I'm not one to lay down and die.

The run was fabulous! They picked up all of us runners in a minibus at Walgreens, where we heard each other's stories. I was nervous because I didn't know what they thought about HIV. By the time I was done, it was like "Pass the tissues." The person I was supposed to pass the torch to had to cancel, so I got to run two slots -- a full mile pumped on adrenaline. A Russian immigrant lady who brings Jewish children here lit my torch from hers. Just before I started, they said to me, "Paul Harris, in a moment you will be the only person on the face of the planet with the Olympic flame in your hand." Cool, huh?

I got to wear my red ribbon -- I unzipped my windbreaker just enough for it to show on the T-shirt. So even though it was 85 degrees, I layered. The committee says no adornments, but by that point, nobody would have stopped me if I had put a big red ribbon on my head.




[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    Hillcrester
    Ramona
    California


    Sloan1
    Dallas
    Texas


    hollywoodvers1
    Los Angeles
    California


    HOTROD2010
    houston
    Texas
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Will decriminalizing injection drug use help end the global HIV epidemic?
Yes
No

Survey
PrEP Course

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.