BRADENTON -- After repairing gold and silver Olympic medals, Steven Dangler at Jess Jewelers thought a bronze medal would be in the offing next. Instead, he's fixing an Olympic torch.
This is the latest in a series of Olympic jewelry repair feats for Dangler and Jess Jewelers, who repaired Bahamian track star Demetrius Pender's London Summer Games gold medal and Miami speedskater Eddy "The Jet" Alvarez's Sochi Winter Games silver medal.
"It's a very big honor," Dangler said Monday.
The torch comes from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Summer Games relay when the flame passed through Manatee County. Terry Perillo was the lucky torchbearer, carrying the flame from Rossi Waterfront Park to Palmetto over the Green Bridge on
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July 4, 1996, according to Herald archives.
This repair is different for Dangler, being more of a mechanical repair of the four pieces when he received it. Included with the torch was a special surprise inside.
"There's a gas canister in it, and I didn't know that, and I didn't know how to turn it on and off, and it started spraying gas out, and I took it outside immediately," Dangler said. The flames are not supposed to be re-lit unless using an official International Olympic Committee flame, which the back-ups are to be traced back to the original ceremonial flame in Olympia, Greece, where the torch relay officially begins.
Perillo brought the medal to Jess, 1312 Sixth Ave. W., after reading the Herald's coverage on the niche Olympic medal repair the Herald has documented, Dangler said.
Sixteen torchbearers were selected as hometown heroes from Manatee County to carry the torch, while another 16 were chosen by sponsor Coca-Cola to carry the torch down U.S. 41 to 53rd Avenue West before reaching Sarasota County, eventually flying on a seaplane to Miami, according to Herald archives. The torch then scooted up Florida's East Coast in time to reach Atlanta on July 16, 1996, for the opening ceremonies.
Does this sudden Olympic repair get old for Dangler?
"No, I'm loving it," Dangler said.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.