Past Olympians reunite in San Jose

July 25, 2008 3:52:40 PM PDT
The first reunion of American Olympians began today in downtown San Jose, the same day that Olympians competing in the 2008 games began receiving gear and undergoing medical testing at San Jose State University.

Throngs of Olympians from past games listened as Willie Banks, three-time Olympian and president of the U.S. Olympians Association declared that he was "excited to be here" for such a historic event.

U.S. Olympians from all over the nation, who competed in sports ranging from rowing to volleyball to handball, came to reunite with each other and "promote the Olympian way of life."

The reunion was organized in order to create a more cohesive Olympic community, said Cindy Stinger, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and organizer of the reunion.

Stinger said that when she began working for the Alumni Association of the committee the one thing everyone wanted was a reunion for all Olympians, and it is an "incredible honor" to be helping achieve that goal.

Richard Fosbury, former Olympic high jumper who revolutionized the sport with his famous "Fosbury Flop" jump, said the reunion comes at a perfect time, so Olympians from former games can come see the national team off as they head to Beijing.

Athletes who are headed to Beijing are "processing" at San Jose State by getting their gear as well as receiving medical support and last minute training, according to the U.S. Olympic Association.

Team members will be filtering through the processing center from today until Aug. 5.

The reunion will continue throughout the weekend with a barbecue picnic, a salute to the 1968 Olympic team on its 40th anniversary and other events.

"We're here and we're ready to have a party in San Jose," Stinger said of the Olympians converging on San Jose.


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