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2012 OLYMPIANS
(Senate - September 13, 2012)

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                             2012 OLYMPIANS

  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, every 4 years families across the United 
States and around the world come together as summer begins to wind to a 
close to watch as supremely gifted athletes from across the globe 
showcase their talents in peaceful competition. The many thrilling 
moments that comprise this 16-day span are both awe-inspiring and 
riveting, and I congratulate each of the athletes who competed in the 
2012 Olympic games in London for their effort, sacrifice and 
competitive spirit. Being an Olympian is a tremendous feat and is the 
product of a relentless commitment to intense, event-specific training, 
coupled with the drive, determination, and perseverance to excel. These 
events and these athletes captured our imagination, and once again, 
reminded us that achievement is limited only by our will and our 
audacity to dream big.
  Representing their country in London is an experience these athletes 
will cherish for a lifetime. They leave with new bonds and new 
friendships borne of mutual respect. London was a welcoming and 
gracious host for these athletes, their family and friends, as well as 
the multitudes of fans that witnessed these enthralling sporting events 
firsthand. The venues were breathtaking, and the opening and closing 
ceremony was a feast for the senses, taking us on a splendid journey 
through history and foreshadowing what was to come. I, along with many 
across Michigan, applaud their effort.
  There were many firsts at these games. For the first time, a woman 
was a member of every Olympic delegation, including a Saudi Arabian 
woman competing bravely for her home country. The London games also 
featured the debut of women's boxing. It was particularly gratifying to 
watch a Flint Northwestern High School student earn the first gold 
medal in Women's Boxing for the United States. The poise, quickness and 
grit of Flint native Claressa Shield displayed en route to her victory 
was a delight to watch. There was also Oscar Pistorius, a bold and 
graceful athlete who has overcome many obstacles to compete alongside 
able-bodied athletes as peers.
  And none of us will forget Michael Phelps, who followed up his 
brilliance in Athens with another dramatic and impressive performance 
in London, solidifying his place among the greatest Olympians of all 
time. The medal total for this Michigan Wolverine is astonishing--22 
Olympic medals, 18 of them gold.
  Nor will we forget the passion and spunk of the ``Fierce Five'', led 
by DeWitt's own Jordyn Weiber. Jordyn experienced a range of emotion at 
these games, from the high of winning the team gold in gymnastics for 
the United States to disappointment of falling just short of 
qualifying, by the narrowest of margin, for the highly coveted 
individual All-Around title. Her grace in both victory and 
disappointment set a fine example for aspiring young gymnasts.
  And there was two-time Olympian Allison Schmitt, who earned three 
gold medals in swimming to increase her lifetime Olympic medal total to 
six.
  As evidenced by these and other impressive performances, Michigan was 
well-represented in London. Impressively, 30 athletes with strong ties 
to Michigan competed in these games, including Chas Betts in wrestling, 
Tia Brooks in track, Tyler Clary in swimming, Ellis Coleman in 
wrestling, Desiree Davila in track, Geena Gall in track, Jake Herbert 
in wrestling, Charlie Houchin in swimming, Connor Jaeger in swimming, 
Kara Lynn Joyce in swimming, Ken Jurkowski in rowing, Justin Lester in 
wrestling, Spenser Mango in wrestling, Sam Mikulak in gymnastics, Brett 
Newlin in rowing, Jamie Nieto in track, Tom Peszek in rowing, Jeff 
Porter in track, Ben Provisor in wrestling, Dathan Ritzenhein in track, 
Daryl Szarenski in shooting, Davis Tarwater in swimming, Sarah 
Trowbridge in rowing, Peter Vanderkaay in swimming, Lauryn Williams in 
track, and Sarah Zelenka in rowing.
  In addition to these outstanding American athletes, Michiganians 
proudly witnessed a number of talented athletes from other nations with 
strong ties to Michigan compete in these games, including Eric 
Alejandro in track, Bradley Ally in swimming, George Bovell in 
swimming, Nate Brannen in track, Syque Caesar in gymnastics, Milorad 
Cavic in swimming, Franklin Gomez in wrestling, Janine Hanson in 
rowing, Barry Murphy in swimming, Wu Peng in swimming, Krista Phillips 
in basketball, Tiffany Porter in track, Nicole Sifuentes in track, and 
Nick Willis in track.
  The joy and excitement on the faces of these fine athletes as they 
fulfilled their dream to compete against the best in the world was 
infectious. Their determination was searing. Watching them compete in a 
gracious way as the world tuned in reminds us of what is possible. They 
navigated cultural differences, overcame language barriers and set 
aside historical disputes to engage in fair, peaceful competition. 
While it is in many ways symbolic, it is nonetheless significant. It 
reminds us all that we are a human family and that respect and dignity 
is deserved for all.
  Barbara and I are honored to salute the many athletes with ties to 
Michigan who competed in London. Their hard work was evident; their 
skill was exquisite; and the competition that resulted was fascinating 
to watch. The inspiring example of excellence these athletes have put 
forth will not soon be forgotten. In homes across our State, young 
people are working a little harder, setting their goals a little higher 
and aspiring to equal or exceed the athletic prowess displayed in 
London time and time again. Our future is a little brighter as a result 
of each of them.

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