HONORING MARYLAND'S OLYMPIANS
(Senate - October 01, 2008)

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[Pages S10304-S10305]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                     HONORING MARYLAND'S OLYMPIANS

  Ms. MIKULSKI. Mr. President, today I rise to honor and congratulate 
Maryland's Olympic athletes for their performance in the 2008 Beijing 
Summer Olympic Games. These dedicated, disciplined, and accomplished 
athletes are a source of great pride to Maryland and the country. 
Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm that I commend:
  Freddy Adu of Montgomery County, 2008 men's soccer team; Carmel 
Anthony of Baltimore, 2008 men's basketball team; David Banks of 
Potomac, 2008 men's Olympic rowing team; Maurice Edu of College Park, 
2008 men's soccer team; Jun Gao of Montgomery County, 2008 women's 
table-tennis team; Georgia Gould of Baltimore, 2008 women's cycling 
team; Kathryn Hoff of Towson, 2008 women's Olympic swimming team; Gao 
Jun of Gaithersburg, 2008 men's Olympic table tennis team; Bobby Lea of 
Talbot County, 2008 men's Olympic cycling team; Mechelle Lewis of 
Prince George's County, 2008 women's track & field team; Jessica Long 
of Baltimore, 2008 Paralympics swimming team; Khan Bob Malaythong of 
Rockville, 2008 men's Olympic badminton team; Tatyana McFadden of 
Howard County, 2008 Paralympic wheelchair racing; Scott Parsons of 
Montgomery County, 2008 men's canoe and kayak team; Michael Phelps II 
of Baltimore, 2008 men's Olympic swimming team; Lauren Powley of the 
University of Maryland, 2008 women's field hockey team; Dina Rizzo of 
the University of Maryland, 2008 women's field

[[Page S10305]]

hockey team; Robbie Rogers of the University of Maryland, 2008 men's 
soccer team; Gary Russell of Prince George's County, 2008 men's boxing 
team; Jamie Schroeder of Johns Hopkins University Medical School, 2008 
men's rowing team; Phil Scholz of Loyola College, 2008 Paralympic men's 
swimming team; Chris Seitz of the University of Maryland, 2008 men's 
soccer team; Keli Smith of the University of Maryland, 2008 women's 
field hockey team; Scott Steele of Baltimore County, 2008 men's 
wrestling team; Natalie Woolfolk of Arnold, Maryland, 2008 women's 
weightlifting team.
  It is with special pride that I recognize the historical 
accomplishments of Baltimore's own Michael Phelps. Michael Phelps has 
gone where no Olympian has gone before. In this year's Olympic Games he 
won a recordbreaking eight Gold Medals. That is a Gold Medal for every 
race he swam in.
  Before Michael Phelps shattered the record, the most Gold Medals ever 
won by an individual at a single Olympics was seven. That feat was 
accomplished by another American swimmer, Mark Spitz. And when Spitz 
captured his seven Gold Medals in the 1972 Olympic Games, everyone said 
it couldn't be topped.
  Everyone, that is, except for Michael Phelps.
  The intrepid Michael Phelps didn't just break world records at this 
year's Olympic Games; he smashed them. He didn't simply win Gold Medals 
in every race he swam; he also set seven new Olympic world records 
along the way.
  Like so many proud Marylanders and proud Americans, I watched Michael 
Phelps win race after race. And leave it to Michael Phelps to leave 
some of the best racing for last. What a race he swam August 16th. What 
a race; what a nailbiter. Michael Phelps, on his quest to win his 
seventh consecutive Gold Medal--this one in the men's 100 meter 
butterfly--trailing behind, and then he came roaring back from seventh 
place at the turn to edge Serbia's Milorad Cavic by one one-hundredth 
of a second. What a race. What an epic race.
  I will also never forget Phelps' last race of this year's Olympic 
Games. It was the race that would determine whether Phelps would become 
the first Olympic athlete to win eight Gold Medals during a single 
Olympic Games. It was the race that if won would mark Phelps as the 
greatest swimmer and, perhaps, the greatest Olympian of all time.
  I watched that historic race, as did so many Americans, with a racing 
heart. It was the men's 4 x 100 medley. When the race was finished--
giving Phelps his eighth Gold Medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games--
I heard a great eruption.
  It was an eruption of pride and joy. It wafted out from apartments 
and houses that left their windows open on that warm summer night. It 
came from the streets below, where people spilled on sidewalks hugging 
and hollering. It came from cars that tooted their horns in solemn 
pride. It was in the air and all around that night.
  Michael Phelps, born and raised in Rodgers Forge, MD, has gone where 
no Olympic athlete has gone before. His performance at this year's 
Olympic Games has placed him in the pantheon of the greatest athletes 
of all time. And he has accomplished all this with great grace and 
humility.
  Throughout his exceptional swimming career, Phelps has always been 
quick to praise those who have helped him along the way. He shows 
special reverence to his mother Debbie, who, as a single mom juggling 
kids and multiple jobs, taught him the values of perseverance and 
courage in the face of obstacles.
  As a young swimmer at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Phelps 
arrived day after day and gave his maximum effort. His work ethic is a 
testament to his strong, value-driven Baltimore upbringing. And he is 
living proof that if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
  I am so proud to welcome Michael Phelps back to Baltimore. He could 
have gone on to any city. Instead, he came back to his family and to 
his community. He came back to the city where he first learned the 
values of hard work and perseverance.
  So welcome home, Michael. And welcome home to all the Olympic 
athletes who served Maryland--and our country--so proud at this year's 
Olympic Games.

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