YORKVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — A Yorkville man has won the honor of carrying the Olympic torch in advance of this year’s Summer Games.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Tom Kozlowicz is the assistant manager of the Holiday Inn Express in Oswego. The British-based parent company of his hotel ran a contest for torch bearers leading up to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, and after being nominated by a co-worker, he won. Kozlowicz says he is humbled by the honor.

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“(The) Olympics has always been a huge thing in my life – watching it,” Kozlowicz said. “I had one of my cousins almost make it to the Olympics.”

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Kozlowicz , 63, says the experience will not quite be like training for the Olympics but, he’s getting ready for his role.

“It’s the equivalent of three football fields, which might not seem like a long distance,” he said. “But I actually ran it and it really is.”
Kozlowicz, who is the only Illinoisan to run in the torch relay, was chosen for his community service. He is involved in Big Brothers in Aurora and has volunteered on an Indian reservation in Utah.

His co-workers say he also goes above and beyond at work – even coming to work early in the winter to clear snow off the cars of hotel guests.

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The torch will be lit in Greece on May 18 and is due to arrive in London on July 27. Kozlowicz will be one of the early runners in the English countryside.