Athletics News

GW Student-Athlete Carries Olympic Torch in Lead-Up to 2012 Summer Games

Joe Lipworth, a freshman on GW's men's swimming team, will carry the Olympic Torch for a leg of its journey this summer during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

June 7, 2012

Read Lipworth's Torchbearer Bio on

Joe Lipworth, a freshman on GW's men's swimming team, carried the Olympic Torch for a leg of its journey this summer during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

Torchbearers for the Olympic Torch Relay were selected through the "Moment to Shine" campaign, which encouraged members of the public to nominate an inspirational person in their life to carry the Olympic Flame. Lipworth's uplifting story makes it easy to see why he was both nominated and selected to be an Olympic Torchbearer.

Born with Nephrotic Syndrome, a rare and debilitating kidney disorder, Lipworth spent the first 10 years of his life in-and-out of hospitals receiving critical treatment. However, he refused to allow his condition to control his life. At a young age, he joined a local swimming club in hopes of keeping himself active, but instead found a refuge where he could flourish as an athlete.

A native of Dundee, Scotland, Lipworth went on to become an invaluable part of his swimming club--by the time he graduated high school, he captained the team and had claimed two U.K. swimming records for his age group.

When Lipworth learned that his mother had nominated him to be an Olympic Torchbearer, he was both surprised and excited--it all culminated when he was later told that he had officially been selected.

"I didn't actually know I was involved until my mum sent me an email a few months ago," said Lipworth. "It means a great deal to me to have the honor of running with the torch. It should be fun."

Joe cites his parents as a source of support and encouragement throughout his life, but especially now as he approaches the Olympic Torch Relay.

"My parents are proud of me. My mum actually purchased a replica torch, which only Torchbearers can buy," said Joe. "That will be a great memento to remember the whole experience with."

Dan Rhinehart, head men's and women's swimming coach, is not surprised that Joe was selected as an Olympic Torchbearer.

"Joe really deserves this honor. He's an incredibly hard worker, and his story is a testament to that fact. Day in and day out, he's a study in dedication and perseverance. I couldn't be happier to see him represent GW, his homeland and his family."

Lipworth's leg of the journey took place on June 12, when he carried the Olympic Flame through Hillside, Scotland, a community just northeast of his Dundee home. After completing his route, he participated in a banquet later that evening with all the other Torchbearers in his area.

During the Olympic Torch Relay, the Olympic Flame will be brought within 10 miles of 95 percent of the population of the United Kingdom. Its journey begins on May 19 at Land's End, England, and concludes on July 27 when the Flame arrives at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony in London. Over the course of its 70-day journey, the Olympic Torch will travel approximately 8,000 miles.