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Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz

Olympic Celebration, 2012
Monday, September 10, 2012

On behalf of the 805,000 residents of Baltimore County, I am proud to join in today's celebration along with Governor O’Malley and Mayor Rawlings-Blake to honor these outstanding athletes. I want to thank our Baltimore County business community for its support of today’s ceremony: T. Rowe Price from Owings Mills, PayPal BillMe Later from Timonium, and, Zynga East from Hunt Valley.

Maryland's Olympians

This summer, Olympians from around the globe came together in London to compete in the 30th Olympiad, and today we are particularly proud to honor Maryland’s Olympians. But these outstanding athletes didn’t just wake up one day and say, “I think I’ll become an Olympian this summer.”

What It Takes To Be an Olympic Athlete

Just what does it take to become an Olympic athlete? Well, certainly, talent is key. You need physical abilities to excel in a sport.  Speed, strength, endurance and coordination are vital. But determination is also a huge component of success. You really have to love what you do in order to put in the roughly 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become the best. And it requires commitment and much sacrifice, not only by the athlete, but by their families as well.

The best athletes keep working toward their goal, thinking positive thoughts which give them the energy, or the push, they need to win.

Athletes see their dreams come true when they receive the gold, silver, or bronze medal, but just qualifying for an Olympiad is an accomplishment in itself.   

Olympians After Sport

The good news is that most elite athletes have very happy and productive lives after sport. They do it by taking these skills:

  • being self-motivated,
  • accepting and learning from criticism,
  • setting effective goals
  • being a team player,
  • and applying them to the rest of their lives.

So we cheer our Maryland Olympians because they represent the values that we care about most. In many ways, their commitment, dedication and sacrifice are the same virtues that we want our children to exhibit in all stages of their lives.

Baltimore County Olympians

Now of course we in Baltimore County are particularly proud of our home grown Olympians and Paralympians.

  • Olympic pentathlete from Parkton, Suzanne Stettinus
  • Paralympian swimmer from Middle River, Jessica Long
  • Paralympian track and field from Woodlawn, Markeith Price
  • Paralympian swimmer from Timonium, Rebecca Meyers
  • Paralympian swimmer from Towson, Ian Silverman

And of course, the greatest Olympic athlete of all time, Michael Phelps.

Michael Phelps

And yes, we do take special pride in our very own Michael Phelps! Michael may be indeed be a citizen of the world, but he will always be just Michael from Rodgers Forge to us. And Michael, we look forward to unveiling this latest addition to your monument in Towson’s Olympian Park in the near future.

Michael’s achievement inspires us all. But I particularly want to recognize some very proud people here today who helped Michael along the way.

  • Dr. Jane Barranger, Principal of Towson High School — Michael’s alma mater
  • Big shout out to the Towson High School Marching Generals under the direction of Mr. David Rhen
  • Three of Michael’s former Towson High teachers are here today — Gil Stange, Michael’s 10th grade World History Teacher and Debbie Richmond, Michael’s 2003 class advisor, along with Gary Brewster.

Thank you

So to all of our hometown Olympians, thank you for making us proud, thank you for representing our values and virtues, and welcome back home.

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