COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced a roster of 15 athlete ambassadors who will lead the charge for the 2016 edition of Team for Tomorrow, a community outreach program born in 2008 that has since featured 59 athlete ambassadors – along with many of their Olympic and Paralympic teammates – volunteering more than 500 volunteer hours.
The role of Team for Tomorrow athlete ambassadors is to serve as philanthropic representatives of the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams, spreading awareness about the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle, and leading the way through volunteerism and goodwill.
“I feel very fortunate and extremely honored to be a Team for Tomorrow athlete ambassador,” said Maggie Steffens, a 2016 Olympic hopeful and 2012 Olympic gold medalist in women’s water polo. “This is an important opportunity for my fellow ambassadors and teammates to encourage young athletes to dream big and believe in a journey they may not know is possible.”
The newest ambassadors to join Team for Tomorrow, representing the 2016 class of Team USA, include:
- Samantha Achterberg, modern pentathlon
- Theron Drake, Paralympic swimming
- Jeff Fabry, Paralympic archery
- Joe Hamilton, Paralympic goalball
- Marybai Huking, Paralympic goalball
- Carmelita Jeter, track and field
- Mariya Koroleva, synchronized swimming
- Hannah McFadden, Paralympic track and field
- Chris Murphy, Paralympic cycling
- Katie O’Donnell, field hockey
- Brittney Reese, track and field
- April Ross, volleyball
- Maggie Steffens, water polo
- Sarah True, triathlon
- Abby Vestal, rugby
For complete bios of the athlete ambassadors, click here.
“Even in a Games year, the athletes of Team USA remain dedicated to causes that transcend sport,” said Alan Ashley, USOC chief of sport performance. “Team for Tomorrow provides a vehicle for our athletes to give back to the community by visiting local sport clubs and making donations to inspire the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes.”
Similar to the program’s 2014 focus, this class of Team for Tomorrow athletes will work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the YMCA – both multi-sport organizations within the U.S. Olympic family – and other local community and sport organizations to coordinate athlete visits. Sport equipment donations will be made on behalf of the program both leading up to and following the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. During these visits to local clubs in their home or training towns, ambassadors will assist with afterschool activities, lead sport clinics, share their inspirational stories, and speak to young people about the importance of living an active and healthy lifestyle.
To kick off the 2016 program, Rio Olympic hopefuls Abby Vestal, Carmelita Jeter and April Ross brought the spirit of the Olympic Movement to their hometowns by making visits to youth sport clubs in Lawrence, Kansas, and Costa Mesa and Gardena, California. As part of their visit, each ambassador donated a sporting goods package on behalf of the Team for Tomorrow program, including items such as basketballs, soccer balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, agility ladders and cones, Frisbees and more, and led the children in some fun athletic activities using the new equipment. After sharing some encouraging words and advice with the children, the athlete ambassadors left each club inspired and excited to watch the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.
“Team for Tomorrow truly is Olympism in motion,” said Patrick Sandusky, USOC chief external affairs officer. “I am thankful to the U.S. athletes leading the charge as athlete ambassadors and stewards of this mission to educate youth through sport.”
Team for Tomorrow’s first initiative in 2008 and 2010 saw dozens of U.S. athletes donating hundreds of service hours to Habitat for Humanity, building homes for under-resourced families throughout the United States. Also in 2008, Team for Tomorrow 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.
For more information, visit the Team for Tomorrow page on TeamUSA.org.