COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Olympic gold medalist and three-time Olympian Sheila Taormina (Livonia, Mich.) has long given back to the community in many ways including sport clinics and motivational speeches. After winning the Olympic gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., swimming the third leg of the 800m freestyle relay, Taormina bought an RV and toured the country giving swim clinics to kids. Taormina's 1996 adventure inspired her to once again go RV-ing for a week in the fall of 2007, but this time she brought along four friends (three fellow Olympians and an Olympic hopeful); Cheryl Haworth (Savannah, Ga./2000 Olympic bronze medalist, 2004 Olympian and 2008 Olympic hopeful in weightlifting), Natalie Woolfolk (Arnold, Md./Colorado Springs, Colo./2008 Olympic hopeful in weightlifting), Shannon Miller (seven-time Olympic medalist and most decorated gymnast in U.S. history) and Angela Ruggiero (three-time Olympic medalist - gold, silver and bronze in women's ice hockey). Taormina dubbed the three city tour, the "Sharing the Dream" tour. The stops in Taormina's hometown of Livonia, Mich., Trenton, Mich. and Houghton, Mich. were the pilot and kick-off for what Taormina plans to expand around the country in the future.
Taormina will be bringing her "Sharing the Dream" message to Boston, Mass. where she will be a featured presenter at the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. Annual Meeting on Saturday, January 26, 2008.
"The Sharing the Dream tour idea came to me after about ten years of me going to speak to students, sports clubs and doing swim clinics with young athletes," said Taormina. "Over the years, I have met and worked with several other female athletes from different sports and talked to them about their training habits, what they eat, took note of their size and shape and I realized how diversified athletes really are in how they approach things. I thought this would be a really neat message to get out there to kids to show them that you don't have to fit one mold to go to the Olympics or reach the professional level in something. The message that I want to share with the Pony Club convention is the same. The Pony Club oversees the sport of Tetrathlon, which is very similar to pentathlon other than it does not include fencing. I really want to share with the group the importance of physical fitness especially as it relates to sports with multiple disciplines."
In addition to her presentation, Taormina will make appearances during the International Exchange Seminar, the Pony Paddock for younger members, the Teen Room and the Tetrathlon Booth of the U.S. Pony Clubs, Inc. Annual Meeting, which is being held at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, January 23-27.
The United States Pony Clubs, Inc. is an internationally recognized youth equestrian organization with representation in 20 countries. The USPC oversees domestic and international exchange activities for seven equestrian related disciplines, which include Tetrathlon. Tetrathlon is basically pentathlon minus the fencing event. The rules framework for the Tetrathlon, are based on the rules used by the Union International de Pentathlon Modern for all Modern Pentathlon competitions. Taormina's presentation to the USPC is sponsored by the USPC Tetrathlon Committee and the Bethany Peacepoint Equestrian Foundation, Inc.
Taormina is attempting to make history by qualifying for her fourth U.S. Olympic Team in an unprecedented third sport. She has already competed in the Olympic Games in the sports of swimming and triathlon. She won a gold medal in swimming at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., swimming the third leg of the 800m freestyle relay. She finished sixth and 23rd, respectively, in the triathlon at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Taormina's top modern pentathlon World Cup performance came in March 2007 when she won the silver medal at World Cup #2 in Cairo, Egypt.
For more information, please contact Cecil Bleiker, United States Olympic Committee NGB Services Manager at 719-866-4608. Media wishing to be on-site for the presentation on Saturday should contact Joachim Sacksen at 814-442-2479 for credentials. This press release is also available on the USOC's media specific website at http://www.usocpressbox.org/