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Olympic Medalist Inspires Reading Youth

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Posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 11:04 am

The Olivet PAL club wrapped up the school year this past Friday by having Olympic Silver medalist Erv Hall as a guest speaker.

The event was put together in conjunction with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s (USOC) National Olympic Day celebration.

Jonathan Santiago, Olivet assistant club director, felt the event was a perfect ending for Olivet’s past year, as well as the start of their summer program.

“Everything went very smooth this year,” Santiago said. “The group we have is really dedicated, and we’re up to between 70 and 80 kids. It’s sort of an end of year celebration.”

The USOC works with over 10,000 Olympians and Paralympians each year as a way to encourage kids to get active, while also hoping to shed light on the role athletics can play in global social issues. By having athletes talk to kids, the USOC aims to inspire children to take active roles in their communities.

Although this is not the first year the Olivet PAL club has participated in National Olympic Day, this is the first year an Olympian visited children at the club.

Hall said he wanted to be the first.

“I didn’t see any of the other athletes volunteering for Reading,” Hall said. “It’s harder to get Olympians to visit smaller cities, which is why I like to visit small cities.”

Before talking with kids, Hall spent time meeting club members and giving running tips to aspiring athletes.

Hall was an athlete in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, where he won a silver medal in the 110m-hurdle event. During his talk, club members were able to touch and hold the medal.

However, in his presentation Hall didn’t want to focus on sports alone.

 “I want to try and help kids understand the possibilities of motivation and competition. Hopefully, I can give them hope of seeing these possibilities,” Hall said.

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