During Wednesday afternoon’s pep rally for members of the University of Central Oklahoma’s Paralympic Team USA contingency, President Don Betz summed up the sentiments of their supporters.
“I listened a second ago to several people who said, ‘Thank you.’ Well turn the mirror around. Thank you,” Betz said from the podium standing on a Wellness Center court. “Thank you for what you represent for all of us, the way you make us feel when you go out and do your very best because you inspire us in your unique way.”
The 2012 London Paralympic Games begin with the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 29 end with the Closing Ceremony on Sept. 9. Events include archery, cycling, judo, powerlifting, sailing, shooting, swimming, sitting volleyball and events tailored for athletes confined to a wheelchair.
Team USA athletes in attendance for the event included members of the U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team, U.S. Paralympic Track and Field, U.S. Paralympic Powerlifting and U.S. Paralympic Archery.
Betz thanked university leaders who created a culture the community appreciates.
“It’s a culture that says there are no limits,” Betz said.
Following remarks by Betz and some of the athletes, guests had the opportunity to meet the athletes and receive autographs. UCO’s cheer and pom squads also were part of the pep rally.
UCO became an official U.S. Olympic Training Site in July 2009, and has been an official U.S. Paralympic Training Site since 2005. At UCO, athletes can train for Olympic volleyball and archery and any Paralympic sport. Currently, the university hosts 16 resident athletes in the Paralympic sports of sitting volleyball, archery, and track and field.
UCO Paralympic athletes:
Allison Aldrich, sitting volleyball
Monique Burkland, sitting volleyball
Jeremy Campbell, track and field
Heather Erickson, sitting volleyball
Katie Holloway, sitting volleyball
Brenda Jensen, sitting volleyball
Kaleo Kanahele, sitting volleyball
Kendra Lancaster, sitting volleyball
Nichole Millage, sitting volleyball
Kari Miller, sitting volleyball
Michelle Gerlosky-Schiffler, sitting volleyball
Ahmed Shafik, powerlifting
Mary Stack, powerlifting
Lora Webster, sitting volleyball
Russell Wolfe, archery
Bill Hamiter, women’s sitting volleyball head coach
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