20 June 2012

World Sports Chicago -Olympic Sports Day

Willie Banks, my mom, Jeffrey and I
This past Saturday Jeffrey, my mom (Nancy Sr.) and I participated in the World Sport Chicago Family Sports Festival and the Walk to London 2012 down at Armour Square Park along with numerous other Olympians and Paralympians including U.S. Olympians President Willie Banks (athletics, 1980, 1984, 1988), World Sport Chicago Executive Director Scott Myers, 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer2012 U.S. Olympic Team Member Bob Willis, Athletics Throws Coach Tom Pukstys (athletics, 1992, 1996), World Sport Chicago President and fellow Olympian Bill Scherr (wrestling, 1988), Steve Gregg (VP, swimming, 1976), Tony Brooks (rowing, 1972, 1976), U.S. Olympians Association Vice President Carol Brown (rowing, 1976, 1980, 1984), and Diane Simpson-Bundy (gymnastics, 1988). Sorry for those names I missed (remembering names is not my forte), but who were also there representing the Olympians and giving up their morning for a great event! World Sports Chicago did a wonderful job at hosting this event and they need to be recognized for their hard work!

Photo credit: Marc Monaghan
Although a ton of us Olympians, Paralympians, and Olympic hopefuls were present, all the staff of World Sports Chicago and the volunteers that helped make this day possible were the backbone of this entire event and are those who really should be thanked. Thank you!!! They sacrificed hours of their time setting up and then cleaning up and want them to know that their hard work didn't go unnoticed :) This event was completely free for those who attended, giving families and kids a chance to have a day exploring more than 25 different sports and discovering sports they probably would never have know of until this day. These families and kids were able to gain information about the programs and places where they can get active in Chicago along with enjoy fun entertainment, music and for those 18 and under, enjoy a free healthy lunch. In the picture above, Jeffrey, who demonstrated at his station how to slide on the sideboard, you can see a little girl thoroughly enjoying skating on the sideboard. Apparently, and I was told, adults and kids flocked to be around Jeffrey and his teaching, haha...but seriously, if Jeffrey alone attracted that many people, who knows how many more we could bring on board and eventually introduce them to Speedskating with events like this! Speedskating, being a stagnant (in growth) sport, we need all the help we can get :) 

Signing autographs with Willie, Diane, my mom and other Olympians
Walk to London 2012, mom with Bob, the 2012 Olympian!
(Photo credits for the two pictures above go to Marc Monaghan)

This World Sports Chicago Family Festival had a great turnout, supposedly 5,000 people overall...and I got to thinking (along with growing the sport of speedskating), that though there are plenty of enthusiastic people and great organizations involved in spreading the significance of sports, we need more types of these festivals to involve kids and get information to them on all the different sports out there; there were 25+ sports demonstrated at this festival (but I know...there is a TON of work to pull off something like this and can't be done all the time). Not that they would take their sport to the Olympic level, but I believe when kids are growing up, if they were exposed to more unique/different sports, there would be an increase in sport involvement and it could also bring kids off the streets and encourage activity every day, teaching them healthier lifestyles and great skills/lessons for life. Sports have taught me so many life lessons and have forced me to develop skills that apply so well to everyday life that I'm fully convinced that being involved in a sport or many sports is vital for every child growing up.

God Bless,
Nancy Jr.

1 Corinthians 9:25

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