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Badminton Athlete Among Those Honored at Nation's Capitol

July 08, 2008, 10:53 a.m. (ET)

For thousands of people, the annual Capitol Fourth event in Washington D.C. was a great way to celebrate the holiday, but for Bob Malaythong, it proved to be a great way to celebrate being an Olympian in next month's games in Beijing.  "We were treated like VIPs," he says of his time at the capitol with eight other Olympians.  Bob Malaythong will be part of the USA Badminton team, playing men's doubles with partner Howard Bach.

Even though the event was held on July 4, Malaythong and the others were in D.C. a day early for rehearsal.  They also went on a tour of the capitol building, where a dinner party was held in their honor.  Many celebrities attended the event, including Brian Strokes Mitchell, Huey Lewis, and former Olympian Kerri Strug, and Scott Hamilton, another former Olympian led the tribute to the athletes.  Besides meeting famous people, Malaythong met many others who were just excited for the athletes heading to Beijing next month.

"It was a great event," says Malaythong.  "The greatest part was getting to know the other eight Olympians.  It helps to ease things for the Beijing Olympics."