COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The United States Olympic Committee today announced the recipients of four annual awards, which will be presented at a celebratory dinner during the 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly that will take place Sept. 20-21 at the Antlers Hilton Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. In addition, Mary Carillo, NBC sportscaster and former tennis professional, was selected to host the awards dinner, which will close out the Assembly on the evening of Sept. 21.
Micki King (Pontiac, Mich.) was named the recipient of the Olympic Torch, while Meghan Vogel (West Liberty, Ohio) was selected as the recipient of the Jack Kelly Fair Play Award, presented by BP, and George Block (San Antonio, Texas) and Community Rowing Inc. were chosen as the Rings of Gold honorees.
The Olympic Torch Award recognizes an individual who has positively impacted the Olympic Movement and has contributed to promoting the Olympic Ideals throughout the U.S. King, a retired Air Force colonel, has been at the heart of change in the sports world as an athlete, coach, administrator and volunteer. Following her career as an Olympic diver, she became the first woman to coach a male athlete to an NCAA title in any sport. She also helped create the Athletes' Advisory Council, for which she served as the inaugural chair (1973-78). In addition, King served on the founding board of the Women's Sports Foundation, was president of USA Diving and currently is a vice president of the U.S. Olympians Association and a member of the Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund.
The Jack Kelly Fair Play Award, presented by BP, recognizes an athlete, coach or official for an outstanding act of fair play and sportsmanship. After winning a state title in the 1,600-meter at the Division III girls' state meet in Ohio last June, Vogel - then a junior at West Liberty-Salem High School - was rounding the final curve of her last race when she saw a competitor collapse 20 meters from the finish line. Without hesitation, she stopped to help her opponent to her feet, and the two continued the race together. As they approached the finish line, Vogel allowed her competitor to cross first.
The Rings of Gold awards annually recognize an individual and program dedicated to helping children develop their Olympic or Paralympic dreams and reach their highest athletic and personal potential. Block, the individual recipient, is a retired Olympic swim coach, athletic director and mentor who worked for the Northside Independent School District for 32 years. Upon his retirement in 2009, the district named its aquatics center in his honor - the George Block Aquatics Center. Formerly the high performance director for USA Pentathlon, Block has served USA Swimming in many capacities, including as vice president and as a national team coach. In addition, Block has been deeply involved in the San Antonio community, where he is a founder of the 28-year-old local sports commission, San Antonio Sports.
On the program side, Community Rowing Inc. draws youth from nearly every demographic and socio-economic stratum within the Greater Boston area for year-long competitive programs, as well as summer camps and clinics. Every week, more than 700 young people use its facilities. In addition, CRI has implemented a rigorous academic support program, designed to nurture and mentor some of the most at-risk student athletes. CRI reaches more than 1,000 individuals in free outreach programs and, with a fully accessible boathouse, CRI's Adaptive Rowing Program gives youth with special needs a chance to experience the freedom of gliding across the water.
ABOUT MARY CARILLO
Revered as one of the most reputable broadcasters on network television, Carillo began her career in 1980 as an analyst for USA Network, and has since held stints on nearly every major network, including NBC, CBS, ESPN, HBO, TNT, USA Network, Bravo and CNBC. A mainstay of Olympic coverage for the past two decades, Carillo recently completed her 11th Olympic assignment at the London Games as NBC's late night show host and Olympic correspondent. The 2006 Emmy Award winner is the author of two books, and became the first female recipient of the Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2010. As an athlete, Carillo competed on the women's professional tennis circuit for three years (1977-80).
ABOUT THE ASSEMBLY
The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly was initiated in 2005 to give a voice to the various member organizations of the USOC; to keep dialogue open between members, staff and volunteer leadership; and to help further the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States. This year's assembly - themed "One Team - Together Stronger" - is expected to welcome more than 300 participants representing Olympic, Paralympic and Pan American National Governing Bodies; U.S. Olympians and Paralympians; Multi-Sport Organizations; the Athletes Advisory Council; the Paralympic Advisory Committee; USOC board members and staff; and government representatives involved in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movements.