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U.S. Olympic Committee Celebrates 23rd Anniversary Of FLAME Program

By United States Olympic Committee | June 02, 2016, 12 p.m. (ET)

The FLAME Program is an annual growth opportunity for students of color. Pictured here is the class of 2015.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The United States Olympic Committee today announced the 29 student leaders from colleges and universities across the country who were selected to participate in the 23rd annual FLAME (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) Program. The 2016 program will be held June 5-12 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

FLAME is designed to inspire undergraduate and graduate students of color to pursue careers within the Olympic and Paralympic movements. Selected participants have demonstrated a pursuit of excellence within their own communities and will have the opportunity to further their personal and professional growth by connecting with U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes, USOC and National Governing Body leaders, and others who have achieved success in the sports industry.

The program provides students with an in-depth look at the Olympic and Paralympic movements, and personal exploration of the Olympic values of excellence, friendship and respect. The program also offers a pathway for talented youth to become further involved in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, either through the USOC’s internship program, or other sports-related career and volunteer opportunities.

Participants in this year’s program represent 16 states from across the nation. During the eight-day program, FLAME participants will reside at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and spend time with U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls. The program will include professional development workshops, leadership seminars and networking sessions.

The 2016 speaker program is highlighted by several U.S. Olympians and Paralympians, including Olympian Ivan Lee (fencing, 2004); two-time Olympic medalist Elana Meyers Taylor (bobsled, 2010, 2014); Olympic hopeful Jason Pryor (fencing, 2016); and Paralympian Jermell Pennie (wheelchair basketball, 2004). Additional speakers include Paula Boggs, former executive vice president and general counsel of Starbucks; Ndidi Massay, executive director of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality; Sandy Cross, senior director of diversity and inclusion for PGA of America; Wade Davis, former NFL player and executive director of the You Can Play Project; and several leaders from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic family.

The program will also feature Vivek Ranadivé, founder and former CEO of TIBCO and majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, as the USOC’s FLAME Invited Speaker, supported by Drs. Tej and Simran Singh.

Additional activities will include Olympic and Paralympic sport demonstrations, a golf workshop organized by the PGA of America and a hike through Garden of the Gods.

FLAME Class of 2016




Amalya Lewinson

Rice University

San Antonio, Texas

Anjelique Cooley

Syracuse University

Central Falls, Rhode Island

Antonio Perez

Saint Louis University

Chicago, Illinois

Ariel Atkins

University of Texas at Austin

Duncanville, Texas

Ashantaí Ellis

Colorado State University

Fort Hood, Texas

Ashley Sandoval

University of South Florida  

Miami, Florida

Christopher Razo

Metropolitan State University of Denver

Denver, Colorado

Cody Nolan

University of Tennessee

Asheville, North Carolina

Ebony Jones

University of Mississippi

Aberdeen, Mississippi

Erin Johnson

Temple University  

Washington DC

George Wisniewski

Loyola University Chicago

San Francisco, California

Hilary Hoffman

Trinity University

Bryan, Texas

Horacio Pena

Texas Tech University

San Antonio, Texas

Jonique Simmons

University of Florida

Belle Glade, Florida

Karen Shu

Boston College  

Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Keith Smith

University of Florida

Tampa, Florida

Kendall Denson

Texas Southern University

Marion, Louisiana

Kobina Andoh

University of Georgia

Lithia Springs, Georgia

Lauren Milligan

Florida State University

New City, New York

Maryanne Kennedy-Menefee

University of Minnesota

Lansing, Michigan

Noella Anyangwe

University of Maryland, College Park

Clarksburg, Maryland

Nyree Henderson-Hayes

Colorado State University

Denver, Colorado

Olivia Hudson-Logan

Georgia State University

Long Beach, California

Rachel Hornbuckle

University of Alabama School of Law

Colleyville, Texas

Salena Powers

Temple University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sarah Colon

University of Delaware

Gambrills, Maryland

Talia Gabriel

Indian Institute of Technology

Statesville,  North Carolina

Taylor Scales

Slippery Rock University

Monroeville, Pennsylvania

Verose Sanders

Texas Southern University

Arlington, Texas