Alumni among 2008 U.S. Olympic swimming team
San Francisco designated the only Olympic torch stop in North America.
January 31, 2008 10:02 AM
The U.S. Olympic Committee announced that San Francisco is the only North American destination on the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay route at a press conference on Jan. 29.
The press conference, held at the Martin Luther King, Jr. pool in the Bayview-Hunters Point District, included speeches by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Olympic officials, and the head coach of the U.S. synchronized swimming team. The speeches were followed by a demonstration from the team.
“This is a big deal, and San Francisco is very proud to represent not only the U.S., but all of North America, Canada and Mexico in this historical event,” Newsom said. “As you know, about 39 percent of our residents are foreign-born, including one of the largest Chinese populations outside of China, so I feel it is utterly appropriate for San Francisco to take part in the Beijing 2008 Olympic torch relay.”
In keeping with tradition the torch will be lit at Olympia, Greece on March 28, 2008 and will arrive in China on March 31. About 22,000 torchbearers are expected, the largest number ever.
“There is only one stop in North America and it is here in San Francisco,” said Bob Ctvrtlik, USOC vice president. “It gives you goose bumps just to think about it.”
Newsom introduced Tammy McGregor, head coach for the synchronized swimming team and an SF State alumna, and Stephan Miermont, the choreography coach, as well as co-captains Kate Hooven and fellow SF State alumna Kim Probst. The team has been training for the Olympics at the Bayview-Hunters Point pool since mid-October.
“This is a very exciting time for us, because not only do we get to represent the U.S. at the Olympics, but we also get to see the Olympic torch go through San Francisco, the hometown to most of the girls on team,” McGregor said. “We also would like to thank the staff at the MLK, Jr. pool for allowing us to practice at such a nice indoor facility as this. It is very hard to find an indoor facility not being used, especially in Northern California.”
“Ten of the girls on the team were born and raised in the Bay Area, so we are greatly appreciative of the opportunity to train in San Francisco,” said captain Kate Hooven. “It’s special when you can train and represent your hometown.”
Currently ranked fourth in the world, the U.S. synchronized swimming team put on a brief demonstration of their routine. Hooven and Probst said they like their chances at earning a medal this year after handing Russia its first defeat in the last ten years.
“That was easily the highlight of my career so far. Beating Russia in Russia was amazing,” said Probst.
Since graduating from SF State in 2006, Probst is able to focus primarily on swimming.
“I’m so glad I am finished with college. Since getting my degree I have been able to focus strictly on swimming and it could not have come at a better time as I believe we have the confidence and ability to win,” said Probst.
The team is expected to leave for China in May. With three more months of intense training left, the team will be ready by the time the torch reaches the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games on Aug. 8, 2008.
While the exact route is still being put together, Newsom urged people interested in participating as torchbearers to apply via the Web site, www.sustainablejourney.com. The deadline for submitting applications is Feb. 3, 2008.
According to Kyri McClellan, the project manager for Newsom, 80 applications will be chosen, 41 locally and the remaining 39 applications by a combination of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, and the corporate sponsors. Of the 80 applications, 30 people will be chosen.
For information about the 2008 torch relay route visit torchrelay.beijing2008.cn.
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