WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
April 17, 2012
SOFLO’s Arlene Semeco of Venezuela and Nick Schwab of the Dominican Republic have already stamped their ticket to the Summer Olympics.
Several more including Olympians Dara Torres of the U.S., Alia Atkinson of Jamaica, Vlad Polyakov of Kazakhstan and Sharntelle McLean of Trinidad and Tobago are working toward that goal.
Wednesday marks the 100-day countdown to the July 27 opening for South Florida Aquatic club athletes and coaches training for Olympic glory at the 2012 London Games.
The $14.7 billion extravaganza will feature 10,500 athletes including 575 Americans from 204 nations competing in 26 sports and 300 events.
London organizers are putting the finishing touches on venues and city officials are preparing for fans and athletes from around the world training for their big moment in the spotlight.
It’s been a labor of love for Sebastian Coe, head of the London Organizing Committee, for seven years centered around turning the deprived industrial area in east London into Olympic Park.
Because of the Olympics, a large shopping mall, the athletes’ village will be turned into apartments, a new school will be built and other improvements are being planned.
“One hundred days means something to people,” Coe told reporters. “When you are talking about seven years, six years, five years, four years, that’s one thing, but actually you’re talking about days. It’s really very close.”
Olympic Fever will begin in earnest when the Olympic flame arrives in Land’s End on the westernmost tip of England on May 19, kicking off the start of the 70-day, 8,000-mile torch relay across the United Kingdom.
The next round of Olympic ticket sales will take place in May with 2.5 million tickets available. Those who were unable to secure tickets in previous rounds will get a 24-hour window before the remaining tickets go on sale on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On Wednesday, 73 athletes including swimmer Missy Franklin, diver Brittany Viola and water polo player Tony Azevedo, will gather in Times Square in New York City for the Road to London Celebration. Olympic legends will also be in attendance including divers Micki King and Greg Louganis and swimmers John Naber and Gary Hall Sr.
For those younger SOFLO swimmers, just a reminder the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games are right around the corner.
Olympian and five-time Olympic medalist Greg Louganis, who grew up training in South Florida, one of his former coaches Sammy Lee and former University of Miami diver and U.S. Olympic hopeful Brittany Viola rang the closing bell at NASDAQ Tuesday during a ceremony to ring in the Olympic Countdown. Louganis also turned on the switch that lights the Empire State Building in red, white and blue colors…McDonald’s is promoting “Champions of Play,” a program geared for kids ages 6 to 14 and built around physical activity and nutrition. It includes fliers in 70 million Happy Meals encouraging kids to earn activity points by doing such things as cartwheels or running or swimming with a friend and logging the activities online. The website goes live on June 4 with a preview launching on Wednesday. McDonald’s has signed up several well-known athletes including Coral Springs Swim Club’s Dara Torres, Shawn Johnson, Dwight Howard, Antonio Rossi, Fernando “Xuxa” Scherer and several others to help motivate the kids and participate in chat rooms.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org