Danny Simpson gets his flame on as Olympic torchbearer


SHORT FUSE | Danny Simpson’s civic involvement more than his athletic prowess landed him the privilege of carrying the Olympic torch near London. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

STEVEN LINDSEY  | Contributing Writer
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Like most gay men, Danny Simpson carries a torch for someone in his past. But unlike almost anyone else, he looks forward to carrying one in the future. And it allows him to cross an item off his bucket list. On July 1, Simpson will run at least 300 meters near Redditch in the United Kingdom, carrying the official Olympic torch as it’s relayed from person to person en route to its final destination at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, where it ignites that giant lantern that burns throughout the event.

Talk about a flamer.

Simpson’s role as a torchbearer has nothing to do with his athletic ability, even though he’s participated in sports most of his life. Instead, he received the honor from his peers at InterContinental Hotels Group, who nominated him because of his involvement in various charitable and nonprofit organizations. In addition to his career in management with ICHG, Simpson is also owner of 77 N-Motion Entertainment, an event planning and DJ service.

“I’m very involved in the community, including serving as senior co-chair of the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS and junior co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” he says. “I also either volunteer time or financially contribute to the fight against autism and various animal shelters, just to name a couple.”

With such involvement, the initial nomination was a no-brainer; after that, it became a waiting game before his participation was made official.

“The Olympic Committee narrowed the list of torchbearers down during shortlist processes over several months” before selecting Simpson, he says. Even though the distance he’ll transport it is less than a quarter of a mile, he’s been training just in case it requires more.

“I’ve been increasing my cardiovascular activity several days per week,” he says.

“I’m confident that everything will go as planned. I’ve traveled the world in the Navy as well in my personal life and I’m confident the trip to London and the privilege of being torchbearer will be great.”

He’ll be decked out in the official white 2012 London Olympic jumpsuit, which he’ll receive once he gets to London — a souvenir that will forever represent his role in the worldwide celebration.

“The Olympic Games are an opportunity for people of all faiths and sexual orientations, from all around the world, to unite and participate in various sporting events,” he says.

Simpson adds that, to the best of his knowledge, there haven’t been any other torchbearers from the Dallas-Fort Worth area who identify as gay. For that reason alone, he sees his participation as historic. And along with people from all over the world cheering him on, both his mom, Carolyn Choate, and his partner, David Cavazos, will be there to watch his once-in-a-lifetime run.

And hopefully everyone can resist the temptation to ask, “Got a light?”

To follow Simpson before and after his torchbearing duties, follow him on Twitter @77NMotion.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 29, 2012.