Santa Clara's own carries Olympic torch

Feb. 1, 2002

By Clara Chu
The Santa Clara

Senior D.J. Frandsen who has been fighting cancer for the greater part of his life, was selected to run with the Olympic torch for a quarter of a mile in East San Jose on the morning of Jan. 18.

Unknown to Frandsen, he was nominated by a family friend as one of the most inspirational people he knows. Frandsen later discovered that he had been nominated by several different people for the honor of running in Chevrolet sponsered event.

The surprise of being selected was only followed by more surprises on the day of the run.

"I had to get to the 'secret spot' an hour and-a-half before my start for them to explain everything," Frandsen said. "They didn't explain everything in great detail. They didn't explain how many cops were going to be there. They didn't explain how many cars were going to be there. The best way to describe it was that you were treated like the President at that time."

Until the run began, Frandsen was still unsure of what to expect.

"When they handed me the torch, I'm standing here looking down the street and all I can see is people on this whole right side of the street and they're all just waving the flag and focusing on you," Frandsen said. "For my first steps, I was totally overwhelmed."

Frandsen, who is the manager of the men's basketball team, serves as a good example for the players.

"D.J. has always had a positive attitude and has been encouraging for the rest of [the team]," David Emslie, one of the captains of the men's basketball team, said. "They recognized what kind of person he is and he deserved to run."

"When I got closer to where I was starting, I started to see friends, the guys from the basketball team, coaches, my family," Frandsen said. "For me, it was the first time I was ever taken away by the experience."

After handing the torch off to the next person, the excitement didn't stop.

"People wanted to take pictures with me and for five minutes, I became this instant celebrity," Frandsen said. "I ended up signing a hundred autographs and taking a lot of pictures. It was like being a rock star."

Remembering that day, Frandsen becomes wide-eyed and excited.

"The whole day was just so overwhelming. If someone wanted to define the word awesome, that was what it was like from the start to the finish," Frandsen said.