Search for S.F. torch bearer is on 

You could be a part of the next Olympics.

San Francisco officials Thursday launched the search for a person to carry the Olympic torch through The City on April 9 as it makes its way to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Games.

Anyone interested in becoming a part of the Olympic tradition is now eligible to write a 200-word essay, detailing their qualifications to hoist the flame through the streets of San Francisco.

Because San Francisco is the only city in North America to participate in the international torch relay, applicants from all over the continent are eligible to participate. The Olympic-themed essays can be submitted online at All applications must be turned in by Feb. 3 for collection by city officials. Qualified candidates will then be forwarded to the Beijing Organizing Committee for final determination, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The flame’s journey will begin March 24 in Olympia, Greece, the birthplace of the games, before stopping for a brief sojourn in Beijing on March 31.

From there the flame will kick off the portion of its six-continent trek, with San Francisco being the seventh stop of 22 international cities. The torch will return to Beijing on Aug. 8 for the start of the games, having traveled more than 85,000 miles over 130 days. Included in the journey is a proposed stop atop Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world.

This will be the fifth time San Francisco has played a part in the route of the Olympic torch, having previously been involved in the 1960, 1984, 1996 and 2002 journeys.

"The Olympic torch represents the journey for excellence," Mayor Gavin Newsom said in a news release Thursday. "We are honored to have the opportunity to host and contribute to the Beijing Olympic Journey of Harmony."

Wire services contributed to this report.

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Will Reisman

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