As Canada’s only gold medalist at the 2012 London Summer Games, Rosannagh “Rosie” McLennan was the perfect choice to serve as Canada’s first torch bearer for the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. Raised north of Toronto in King City, McLennan has already competed in two previous Pan Am Games, winning silver in 2007 and capturing the gold at the 2011 edition. The reigning World Trampoline champion, she also captured a world title in 2007 with Karen Cockburn (who was her role model growing up) in the synchro event.
The love of sport is certainly in her blood as her grandfather Lorne Patterson qualified to compete in gymnastics at the 1940 Summer Games, which were eventually cancelled due to World War II. As a child, she wanted to emulate her grandfather and also took up gymnastics but eventually switched to trampoline due to the participation of her siblings.
Graduating from the University of Toronto in 2011 with a degree in Physical Education and Health, MacLennan is currently working on a Masters Degree in Exercise Science. In addition to balancing academic and athletic obligations, she has been involved with noble causes such as Right to Play, Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities and Active At School.
Considering that Christine Sinclair was selected over MacLellan to be the flag bearer for the Closing Ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Games (as MacLennan was Canada’s only gold medalist), the chance to be the first to participate in the Pan Am Games torch relay is a fitting tribute. MacLennan was part of a ceremony at Toronto’s Harbourfront with fellow torchbearers Zsofia Balazs and Manuel Aparicio to kick off the torch relay on home soil. Distance swimmer Balasz earned a silver medal at the 2007 edition of the Games, hosted in Brazil, while Aparicio is a member of Toronto FC. In addition, all three were were recognized by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), a premier partner of the Games and its Torch Relay.
Part of OLG’s commitment to sport in Ontario has also included the Quest for Gold lottery program. Launched in January 2006, proceeds from Quest for Gold have resulted in over $90 million of support for provincial athletes and coaches, with the goal of increasing participation asnd performance. As a side note, Aparicio, MacLennan and Zsofia are among over 4,000 athletes in Ontario that have benefitted from Quest for Gold funding in their athletic endeavors.
The torch relay shall last for 41 days, making its way through more than 130 communities across Canada. MacLennan is the first of 3,000 people who have the honor of serving as torchbearer bestowed upon them. On June 25, the torch shall go through MacLennan’s hometown as Peggy Belcher and Alessandra Benazzi shall serve as community torchbearers, and shall return to Toronto on July 10 for the opening ceremony of the Games.