Selected by the American Sportscasters Association as its top all-time female sportscaster, Lesley Visser has contributed to network broadcasts of the World Series, the U.S. Open, the Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, and the Triple Crown. With an extensive background covering the Olympic Games with CBS Sports, Visser earned distinction in 2004 as the first female sportscaster to carry the Olympic Torch.
The history of the Olympic flame stretches back to the ancient Greek games, when lit torches were passed from one athlete to the next in honor of Prometheus’ bestowing of fire to humans. In addition, a continuously burning flame was lit at Hera’s altar in Olympia throughout the games.
A cauldron fire evoking this original Olympic spirit was introduced at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics; the modern torch relay began about eight years later, in Berlin. Today’s torches are high-tech pieces of equipment powered by liquid fuels that stay alight throughout a journey of thousands of miles, from Olympia, Greece, to the Olympic site. Designed to comfortably weather extremes in altitude and climate, the torch is typically transported from country to country by airplane. Each runner selected to carry the flame takes the torch a short distance before handing it off to another participant.
Lesley Visser’s selection as a relay torchbearer by the International Olympic Committee reflected, in part, her pioneering work in opening up the profession of sports broadcasting to women.