FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 16, 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - In keeping with the values and ideals of the Olympic Movement, America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes are partnering with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in creating the Team for Tomorrow Fund - a humanitarian relief effort through which U.S. athletes will offer assistance and support to people around the world who are in need. Humanitarian relief and assistance will come in the form of financial donations, volunteerism, disaster recovery support, advocacy and other contributions to communities.
"The Olympic Movement is the greatest force for hope and opportunity in our world today," said USOC Chairman Peter Ueberroth. "Team for Tomorrow was initiated by our Olympians and Paralympians as a means to continue spreading the Olympic Ideals of peace, understanding, tolerance and harmony around the world. America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes have expressed a profound interest in social and civic responsibility. They are looking for ways to make a difference in the world and to give something back."
The first initiative for the Team for Tomorrow Fund involved providing disaster relief tents to families that lost their homes during the recent earthquakes that struck China. On behalf of America's Olympic and Paralympic athletes, the USOC donated 1,000 relief tents to survivors of the May 12 earthquake in China's Sichuan Province that left approximately 5 million people homeless. Produced by Shelter Systems and manufactured in Cornelia, Ga., the Yurt Dome Relief Tents are durable to last several years and can each sleep 8-10 people. The tents were shipped from the United States to China by Schenker, a USOC Official Supplier, and arrived at the Beijing International Airport on Sunday, June 1, from which they were transported to Chengdu, Sichuan, China, one of the hardest hit areas of the earthquake.
To assist those in need in the United States, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams are donating service hours to Habitat for Humanity. Following the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, athletes will donate their time to Habitat for Humanity local affiliates in their hometown areas, building houses in partnership with families in need and giving back to their local communities throughout the United States.
These initial, significant efforts mark the first steps for Team for Tomorrow. Additional activities will follow, including involvement in other domestic and international relief causes.
"Through Team for Tomorrow, the entire U.S. Olympic Movement is coming together to make a difference in the world," said BMX cyclist Donny Robinson. "I'm proud to be a part of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team and to represent my country, and now, I'm just as proud to be a part of Team for Tomorrow. This humanitarian fund shows just another way the Olympic Movement is making the world a better place."
A team of Athlete Ambassadors will serve as captains of Team for Tomorrow on behalf of the entire U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. The 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. Team for Tomorrow Athlete Ambassadors for the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams are:
Habitat for Humanity is a homebuilding organization that works with community groups and volunteers to build simple, decent homes in partnership with people in need who are living in substandard conditions. Habitat relies on donations of labor, building materials and land to help keep the cost of the houses down. Homeowners are selected based on their need for adequate housing, their ability to repay a no-profit mortgage and their willingness to partner by helping to build their home and the homes of others in the program. Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has built more than 250,000 houses around the world in nearly 90 countries where it works.
"Habitat for Humanity is grateful to the U.S. Olympic Committee for selecting Habitat for Humanity as a participant in its Team for Tomorrow program," said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity. "We are hopeful that these Olympians and Paralympians, who inspire the nation with exceptional performances in their sports, will also inspire their communities to get involved with the fight against poverty housing."
The USOC will continue Team for Tomorrow and lead a similar initiative in 2010 on behalf of the 2010 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams.
"Team for Tomorrow is offering U.S. Olympians and Paralympians a way to stay connected to sport in a meaningful way," said USOC Athletes Advisory Council representative and 2004 Olympic rower Kate Johnson. "When the Closing Ceremony ends, our athletes will find a new significance in what it means to represent our country. Their career as elite athletes may come to an end, but their role as Olympians and Paralympians is forever."
For more information, please contact the USOC Communications Division at (719) 866-4529.