U.S. flag bearer Lopez Lomong, four-time paralympian Allison Jones among athletes giving back to community as part of Team for Tomorrow humanitarian fund
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, as well as Olympic alumni and hopefuls, joined together to celebrate the spirit of the Olympic Movement on Saturday, November 22, at Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also as a part of the Team for Tomorrow humanitarian fund, U.S. athletes around the country are working with their local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, spreading the spirit of the Olympics while making a difference in their hometown communities.
Lopez Lomong, U.S. flag bearer and track and field athlete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, hammers a nail on a future Habitat house.
Beijing Olympians and Paralympians who participated in the all-day build in Northeast Colorado Springs include U.S. flag bearer and track and field athlete Lopez Lomong (Flagstaff, Arizona) and volleyball silver medalist Nicole Davis (Stockton, California). Joining them were cyclist Michael Blatchford (Cypress, California), pentathlete Eli Bremer (Monument, Colorado), weightlifter Carissa Gump (Essex, Vermont), Paralympic cyclist and skier Allison Jones (Colorado Springs, Colorado), wrestler Brad Vering (Howells, Nebraska) and women’s volleyball coach Tom Hogan (Colorado Springs, Colorado).
Also lending helping hands during the build day were 2004 Olympic fencer Cody Mattern-Nagengast (Tigard, Oregon), Olympic shooting hopeful Amy Sowash (Richmond, Kentucky), three-time kayak Olympian and U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Chief Operating Officer Norman Bellingham (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and three-time handball Olympian and U.S. Paralympics staff member Laura Ryan (Colorado Springs, Colorado). The Colorado Springs family receiving the home after its completion also worked alongside the athletes during the build.
Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity is a part of the USOC’s Team for Tomorrow fund. Launched prior to the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Team for Tomorrow is the ongoing humanitarian relief effort of America’s Olympic and Paralympic Teams that consists of donations, volunteerism and other relief contributions to organizations including Habitat for Humanity, the selected cause of the 2008 teams.
Activities like the inaugural Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity allow America’s top athletes to gain an even deeper meaning out of representing the United States as an Olympic and Paralympic athlete. Through the fund, athletes also help further the Olympic Ideals of goodwill, understanding, tolerance and harmony.
Through the fund, several athletes have already donated service hours to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in communities around the nation, including Olympic race walker Phillip Dunn (San Diego, California), Paralympic swimming gold medalist Aaron Paulson (Portland, Oregon) and Olympic field hockey players Lauren Powley (San Diego, California) and Amy Tran (Norfolk, Virginia). Dozens more U.S. athletes are expected to participate this winter and spring.
Team for Tomorrow has also extended its reach beyond the United States to people in need around the globe. On behalf of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Teams, 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. The tents, which can sleep 8–10 people each, were transported to Chengdu, Sichuan, China, where they have assisted thousands of victims who lost their homes in the earthquake.
The earthquake relief efforts and the inaugural Olympic and Paralympic Build Day with Habitat for Humanity are just two ways America’s Olympians and Paralympians are making a difference beyond the playing fields. In the future, in partnership with the 2010 and 2012 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, the Team for Tomorrow fund will partner with other causes in the United States and around the world to continue spreading the spirit of the Olympic Movement.
About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 300,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1.5 million people. For more information, visit www.habitat.org .