Today, this lady will preside over the largest sporting event in the world. It will take place in and around her home; a place, often maligned as unkind. Yet since the time when her torch was raised over one hundred years ago, New York City has provided a home, where people can share language, and heritage, and a hope for the future.
Every hidden corner in those concrete canyons reveals a different culture, yet somehow, they blend into one. Such is the feeling on Mulberry and Canal in the heart of Little Italy, where your nose is treated to the aroma of simmering sauce, your ears to the melting pot spirit of New York. Follow the ribbons of asphalt to famous Coney Island and Brighton Beach, whose playtime spirit contrasts so greatly with our image of the Soviet Union; yet this is the home of their immigrants, a neighborhood built on trust.
On the east side of Manhattan, pubs like Drake's Drum carry the warmth of Dublin and the accent of London, yet the toasts are frequently raised to the life they found here. In a Hungarian bookstore we find a country's culture wrapped around four small walls, and its proprietor who knows the meaning of living under the torch.
Today, two million New Yorkers will take to the streets to cheer runners from 86 countries, who will try to feel as at home on the streets of New York as they do. A toast to the city and to the twenty-three thousand who will run through the streets as ABC Sports presents the nineteenth running of the New York City Marathon.