Eckville rallies for hometown Olympian Mellisa Hollingsworth in CTV taping

hey were dressed in red T-shirts, hoodies and mitts, carrying signs that read Go Mellisa go! and Rock On Mellisa!

Some of about 1

Some of about 1

They were dressed in red T-shirts, hoodies and mitts, carrying signs that read Go Mellisa go! and Rock On Mellisa!

Hundreds of people lined Eckford Street in Eckville for a television shoot to honour hometown hero Mellisa Hollingsworth.

The Olympic skeleton bronze medalist grew up on a ranch just outside the community and will be competing in the upcoming winter Olympics in Vancouver in February.

The CTV television videotaping on Monday will be featured in the opening and will kick off the first day of the Olympics television coverage.

During the taping two lines of people — four or more deep — stood along the street waving flags and cheering.

Special effects will be added before it goes to air, with a fireball coming down along the main street.

Josh Shiaman, senior field producer for CTV, said you could only have this kind of support in a small town.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. The support that everyone has shown is simply stunning,” Shiaman said.

“I asked for 50 extras to come on the street and we’re just going to recreate a rally for (Mellisa Hollingsworth) and instead of 50 we got about a thousand people to just show up and show their support.”

People waved Canadian flags, cheered and chanted, “Go Mellisa go!”

Children from the elementary and high school were in attendance, as well as students from some of the surrounding schools, business owners and residents. Hollingsworth is currently training in New York.

Sharon Lemke, who is part of the Mellisa We Believe committee, which is supported by Eckville Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Eckville, said Hollingsworth is an incredible inspiration to the community, having attended the local schools as a child and returned as an adult to show them her medal.

“This is our way of saying Mellisa we believe,” Lemke said.

Lexi Sparrow, 10, and her friends Peyton Opsahl, 11, and Rylee Forhan, 11, were part of the enthusiastic crowd. The girls had made Canadian flags, attached to rulers, with “We believe. Go Mellisa” on the back.

“I am very supportive of her,” said Sparrow, who plans to watch the Olympics on TV. “I hope she wins.”

The rally also brought many of Hollingsworth’s relatives out, including her father Darcy Hollingsworth and her grandmothers Doreen Hollingsworth and Myrtle Patapoff, who were all dressed in red.

Darcy planned to phone his daughter on Monday night to tell her about the rally.

“She’ll be thrilled. It means a lot to her, the support, because they spend so much time by themselves, and away, and not knowing how people are behind them at home,” Darcy said. “So it will be nice for her.”

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com