2012 U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, hopefuls launch new class of Team for Tomorrow in advance of London 2012 Games

May 01, 2012, 2:38 p.m. (ET)

Colorado Springs, Colo.- Team for Tomorrow, a program launched in 2008 by America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes and the United States Olympic Committee, continues to make a difference for those in need around the world. Today, the USOC announced details of the 2012 program, including the roster of 2012 Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors and a partnership with the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America - both Multi-Sport Organizations within the U.S. Olympic Family.

Team for Tomorrow is a humanitarian relief effort through which U.S. athletes offer assistance and support to people around the world who are in need. Humanitarian relief and assistance takes place in the form of donations, volunteerism, disaster recovery support, advocacy and other contributions to communities. The program offers U.S. athletes a way to stay connected to sport in a meaningful way, finding new significance in what it means to represent their country.

The Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors will serve as captains of the program on behalf of the entire 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. As ambassadors, this select group of athletes will act as advocates and champions of the effort, educating their U.S. teammates and spreading awareness about Team for Tomorrow's causes for the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team. The ambassadors include:

  •          Tony Azevedo, water polo
  •          Rachel Dawson, field hockey
  •          Anjali Forber-Pratt, Paralympic track & field
  •          Rudy Garcia-Tolson, Paralympic swimming
  •          Jessica Hardy, swimming
  •          Gwen Jorgensen, triathlon
  •          Tim Morehouse, fencing
  •          David Oliver, track & field
  •          Heather O'Reilly, soccer
  •          Mary Whipple, rowing

"I decided to get involved with Team for Tomorrow because it provides an opportunity to give back," said Oliver, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in the 110-meter hurdles and London 2012 hopeful. "At one point or another, we all need a helping hand and this program provides a platform for Olympians and Paralympians to represent Team USA at the local level where we can interact with members of the communities in which we live."

For complete bios of the Athlete Ambassadors, please click here.

Between now and the London 2012 Games, Team for Tomorrow will connect Athlete Ambassadors and their teammates with local YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs in their hometown or training communities. These athletes will donate service hours helping with afterschool activities, leading sport clinics and speaking to young people about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle.

"We are thrilled that this incredible roster of Athlete Ambassadors and their teammates are making time to visit local Boys & Girls Clubs through Team for Tomorrow in the lead-up to the London 2012 Games," said Wayne B. Moss, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Senior Director of Sports, Fitness & Recreation. "The inspiration that these individuals will bring to their communities will undoubtedly make this summer's Games unforgettable for everyone involved and leave lasting memories for dozens of young people."

Additionally, U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and London hopefuls across the country will visit children's hospitals and at-needs schools both leading up to and following the Games. They will share their journeys of determination and commitment to reaching their ultimate goal - the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games - while encouraging children to reach for their dreams.

Athlete Ambassador and two-time Paralympic medalist in wheelchair racing Forber-Pratt will conduct one of these visits in July at the Shriners Hospitals for Children® - Chicago, where the track-start will meet with children receiving pediatric specialty care for orthopedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, as well as cleft lip and palate.

"Having a group of passionate, inspiring athletes working together to give back to our communities all across the country and inspire and motivate others to do so is extremely powerful," said Forber-Pratt.  "We have an important message to share, and a responsibility to educate those around us. It is rewarding to make a difference in the lives of others, and I couldn't be more excited to be involved with a program like Team for Tomorrow."

Team for Tomorrow's first initiative in 2008 provided 1,000 disaster relief tents to families that lost their homes during the earthquakes that struck China's Sichuan Province in May of that year. Then, in 2010, nearly 25,000 items of athletic apparel and equipment were donated to National Olympic Committees in Africa, Fondation Internationale OlympAfrica, and the people of Afghanistan through Kabul's Bagram Air Force Base.

In both 2008 and 2010, U.S. athletes donated hundreds of service hours to Habitat for Humanity after returning from both Beijing and Vancouver. For more information, visit the Team for Tomorrow page on TeamUSA.org.