Britton Shipp to carry Utah Summer Games Torch

Published: April 27, 2015 | Read Time: 2 minutes

Sixteen-year-old Britton Shipp will bear the torch in the 2015 Utah Summer Games opening ceremony, taking one miracle step after the next toward the cauldron that will open statewide competition in more than 50 sports for the state's athletes.

The fact that Shipp is alive, let alone walking, is cause to celebrate; his new title as torchbearer is just the icing on the cake. Five months ago on a group date, Shipp's skull was crushed in an ATV accident. After waking from a five-month coma and the intense physical therapy that followed in Shipp's miraculous recovery, the young athlete is regaining his ability to walk, talk and use fine motor skills.

Before the accident Shipp was the quarterback on the Snow Canyon football team, and participated in basketball and baseball. He was a fantastic athlete who gave credit to his teammates, was highly involved in school and was a great friends to his peers and family. According to Casey McClellan, director of the Utah Summer Games, this invitation to now bear the 2015 torch is "Just a small gesture of our admiration for Britton."

McClellan adds, "We just want to give him a chance to be involved in the life he loved the accident."

Bearing the torch at the Utah Summer Games is something that will require faith, hope and perseverance for Shipp, who is getting stronger every day but still has a long road to recovery ahead. McClellan said it is obvious he has already mastered those skills, however, explaining, "In everything he is doing, Britton embodies the spirit of the Games."

Shipp will also be given the Utah Summer Games' highest honor, the Spirit of the Games Award, granted every four years to individuals who serve as the state's ultimate exemplars in both athletic performance and sportsmanship.

“Britton has captivated all of southern Utah, and really all of the state," said McClellan. "We have all been rooting for him, and we will continue to cheer him on. Britton has inspired us all."

Beyond support, McClellan hopes the torchbearer appointment shows, in some small measure, the entire community's gratitude to the Shipp family for the examples they have set as they have persevered through seemingly insurmountable odds.

Shipp joins an elite group of Utah Summer Games torchbearers, including Utah celebrities who range from Steve Young to the Jazz bear.

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