By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: As our athletes prepare to represent Australia in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, Samsung is offering ordinary Australians the chance to represent their country as an Olympic Flame torchbearer.

The Olympic Flame will make its way through Canberra on 24 April 2008 as one of the remaining stops on its journey to Beijing. Samsuing, an Olympic sponsor, is conducting a national online search to find an Australian torchbearer to represent Australia in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay. The online nominations for torchbearers continue until 19 October and the finalists will be officially announced in January 2008.

The criteria for nomination is simple, Samsung Electronics Australia is asking Australians to nominate individuals who push the limit for a better life.

The first nominee was yesterday announced as Andrew Heslop from Melbourne. Heslop was nominated by a friend who was inspired by his devotion to developing stronger communities worldwide through his annual event, Neighbour Day. Neighbour Day’s aim is to encourage a greater sense of community caring, by encouraging people to look after the vulnerable and isolated, especially those who live alone.

“Andrew is a shining example of what it means to be Australian,” said Samsung Electronics Australia’s general manager – corporate marketing, Kurt Jovais,

“His dedication and selfless involvement in local communities exemplifies core Australian values of tolerance and respect. We are proud to have Andrew put forth as the first nominee for consideration to run in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Torch Relay. We wish him the best of luck in being selected by the Australian Olympic Committee and Beijing Organising Committee of the 2008 Olympic Games to be a torchbearer.”

The final selection of the Samsung Australian Olympic torchbearer will be based on their nomination for significant contribution to the community through sport, education or culture and as a role model inspiring others to strive for excellence.

“When I received the phone call, I was completely taken aback that my volunteer work would lead to a nomination as an Australian Torchbearer,” said Heslop, who founded Neighbour Day in 2003.

“Being nominated to represent Australia and participate in the Olympic Torch Relay as the torch makes its way to Beijing is a life experience on its own. I am truly honoured to have been chosen as a nominee.”

Nominations began on 23 September and close on 19 October. The two finalists will be officially announced in January 2008. To nominate an outstanding local hero who exemplifies Australia’s unique identity, visit