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c. The Advocate

Tuesday, December 4th, 2001 By the time the Olympic flame ignites the grand torch at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City on February 8, it will have passed through the hands of at least two openly gay men.

Detroit attorney Rudy Serra and Omaha, Neb., activist Troy Haasis are among the hundreds who were chosen to represent their local communities in the cross-country Olympic torch relay.

Both Haasis and Serra spoke of the Olympic Games and the traditional torch relay as hopeful, healing symbols for a terrorism-weary post–September 11 world.

“Being a part of this means so much to me,” said Haasis, who makes his run of one-fifth mile on January 10.

“The Olympics are going to have special significance this year,” added Serra, who will relay the flame on January 6. Referring to the post-crash press coverage of United Airlines Flight 93’s Mark Bingham, Serra said, “It’s important that people know there are gay heroes, and I hope my participation can help drive that point home in some small way.”

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