When the Olympic Torch arrives at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Athens, Greece, in August, two of USA Canoe/Kayak’s Olympic Team athletes will have already experienced an up close and personal connection to the flame. The U.S. Whitewater Slalom Canoe Team of Joe Jacobi and Matt Taylor have been selected to carry the torch when it passes through Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, June 18th.

Representing Samsung Electronics, an official sponsor of the Olympic Torch Relay, Jacobi and Taylor will run their torch segments in two high profile parts of the program. Taylor is scheduled to carry the Torch at 3:15 p.m. as it passes by the Georgia State Capital. At about 8:30 p.m., Jacobi will carry the torch through the Atlanta Underground just before it arrives in Centennial Olympic Park for the Torch Celebration.

“To run with the torch in my hometown, particularly given Atlanta’s Olympic history, is a special honor,” said Taylor, who competed in his first Olympics in 2000. “This is also a fantastic way for our friends and family who can’t make it to Athens to still connect to this summer’s Olympic Games.”

This year’s Olympic Torch Relay is truly a global affair. the Torch visits each city that has previously hosted an Olympic Games before reaching Athens on the 13th of August.

“One of the things that separates the Olympic Games from other major sporting events of the World is this journey of the Olympic torch. Only the Olympics finds that unique way of reaching out to the citizens around the globe and connecting the spirit of the Games to their home communities,” said Jacobi, a 1992 Gold Medalist. “Carrying the Olympic flame is the most humbling Olympic event in which I have participated.”

The program in Atlanta is one of just four stops for the Olympic torch in the United States. The other host cities are Los Angeles, St. Louis and New York.

Jacobi and Taylor earned their spots on the U.S. Olympic Team through competing in USA Canoe/Kayak events and Olympic Team Trials. USACK is headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., and is the National Governing Body for eight canoe and kayak racing sports. For more information visit its Web site, www.usack.org.