(as submitted by Rep. West in the Congressional record Thursday, July 26)
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE ATHLETES FROM SOUTH FLORIDA REPRESENTING THE UNITED STATES IN THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN LONDON, ENGLAND
HON. ALLEN B. WEST
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Mr. WEST. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a proud American, anxious to support our American athletes who will be competing in the 2012 London Olympics over the next two weeks. Like the vast majority of my fellow citizens, I will be closely following and cheering for each of our athletes as they represent our country—especially those from the state of Florida.
Every two years, when the torch has completed its journey across the world and the cauldron is lit opening up the winter or summer games of the Olympics, we put down our differences for a brief moment and rally around our young American athletes. Each time the Stars and Stripes are raised just a little bit higher than the other flags and as the Star-Spangled Banner is played for the world to hear, we feel the unfettered pride of being an American.
For these next two weeks, American Exceptionalism runs through the veins of every American as we root for our fellow athletes.
The very best of America can be seen in so many of our young men and women who compete to bring the gold home.
Athletes like Lopez Lomong, who escaped unspeakable horrors as a child soldier in Sudan after running for three days, only to end up in a refugee camp for 10 years, before being rescued by an American family. After legally earning his American citizenship in a country he refers to as ‘‘next to heaven,’’ Lopez proudly carried the American flag in Beijing and will compete in the 5,000 meter race in London.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about this champion athlete has nothing to do with sports. After learning that he had two brothers still in Africa, he brought them to the United States where he encouraged them to attend a military academy so that they can give back to a country that has given him so much opportunity.
My daughters and I will be rooting for this true American hero and patriot.
This momentous occasion to represent the United States of America is an unequivocal honor for each athlete, the members of their team, their families, and all who have exhibited support along the way. As a member of Team USA, these champion athletes join a select group who will accompany each other in an endeavor to achieve the very best. Mr. Speaker I am extremely proud to recognize the Olympic Athletes who reside in South Florida. I salute:
Venus Williams, a three-time Olympic gold medalist, has won a gold medal in tennis singles and two in women’s tennis doubles. I am proud to proclaim that Venus Williams has won more Olympic medals than any other female tennis player.
Tony McQuay, a three-time NCAA track champion and helped lead the University of Florida men’s track and field team to the 2012 college national title. Tony posted the third-fastest time in the world this year in the 400- meter event.
Sarah Lihan who is competing in sailing. After becoming the 2009 ICSA Women’s National Champion, we will cheer her on as she sets sail to London in her first Olympic games.
Anna Tunnicliffe also competing in sailing. After winning gold in the Women’s Laser Radial class in the 2008 Olympics she is back on Team USA to hopefully bring home another gold medal.
Christie Rampone is a defender on the U.S. Olympic soccer team. She has been an invaluable member of the Olympic team and this will be her fourth Olympics.
Becky Sauerbrunn will compete on the U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team in her first Olympics. She currently resides in West Palm Beach and we look forward to seeing her succeed as a defender alongside her teammates.
Andy Roddick a native Floridian is competing in tennis for his second Olympics. He proved over and over that he highly excels in his discipline which is singles, doubles and mixed doubles.
Sanya Richards-Ross is track and field and will be competing in the following events: Women’s 4 × 400m Relay, Women’s 200m, and the Women’s 400m. In the 2008 Olympics she brought home a 4 × 400m bronze and a 400m gold.
And finally, Foluke Akinrakewo a first time Olympian competing in the volleyball tournament. She was previously the starting middle blocker on the gold winning U.S. Women’s Junior National Team.
As the world’s attention shifts to London for the next two weeks and our nation turns its attention to the very best American athletes it is an honor to offer my congratulations and best wishes to all these great athletes on their journey in competing in the 2012 London Olympics.
I extend my best wishes for all around success in the upcoming London 2012 Olympics as their hard work, dedication, and perseverance is put to the test!