Undefeated heavyweight boxer "Baby" Joe Mesi was the torch's last bearer this year. Mesi, 28, accepted the torch shortly before midnight Monday and carried it to Roosevelt Square in downtown Buffalo, where fireworks marked the beginning of 2002.
The torch made its way through the city despite the recent five-day snowstorm that dumped 82.7 inches on Buffalo. The torch was to spend the night there and then continue through the city on Tuesday as part of its 65-day trip to Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics beginning Feb. 8.
By the time the torch reaches Salt Lake City, it will have journeyed through 46 states and 125 cities.
According to Mayor Tony Masiello, all the locations and routes that are to be used in the torch relay have been cleared of snow.
It took an army of snow-removal crews, including squads from the National Guard and the cities of Rochester, New York, and Toronto, to get it that way.
Many had to plow roads narrowed and rutted with packed snow and ice.
Things aren't quite back to normal, however, and many children are glad of it.
Buffalo school students, who had been scheduled to report to class on Wednesday, are getting a snow-induced extended holiday break. With many streets still unplowed, schools will be kept closed through the rest of the week.
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