Unable to contain his excitement at the honor Akshay on his return to Mumbai on Sunday morning said, “Carrying the torch across the longest street in the world was the greatest honor I could hope for. But when after the event the Olympics committee gifted me the torch I almost broke down. My first thought was for my son Aarav who would now be able to keep that precious torch with him for a few days. My second thought was, will I carry it back to Mumbai safe and sound?"
At the Toronto airport the authorities were excited by the very unusual cabin luggage that Akshay had brought with him. “They didn"t even check the torch! I was just asked to proceed with it." Throughout the long trip from Toronto to Mumbai Akshay clutched the torch in his hands as he sat thinking of what to do with the precious possession. “It was during the long flight that I decided what to do with the torch. I"ll be auctioning it and use the money to help the children who participate in the Special Olympics."
Reliving the golden moments when he carried the torch in Toronto on Thursday evening Akshay says, “About 7000-8000 Indians including those who had come from other cities like Montreal and Vancouver lined both the sides of Yonge Street which at 1,178 miles is the longest street in the world. I started at 7.30. But people had already gathered by 5 pm. I covered about half a mile in 20 minutes. I can only tell you, it was the most exciting and magical moment of my existence."
A group calling itself the Torch Extinguishing Committee did not dampen Akshay"s spirits. Says Akshay, “I don"t know whose torch they came to extinguish. It was certainly not mine. I heard they were around somewhere on that street. Like I told you it"s the longest street in the world. I completed my sprint without obstruction. I could hear people shouting, 'Spoil-sports, spoil-sports!" against these protestors. I"m sure they were protesting for a worthy cause. But why dilute sports by bringing politics into it?"
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