“What happens next Friday?” Marymount University President Matt Shank asked the sea of more than 120 children on campus for basketball and soccer camps. “The Olympics!” they shouted back.
Dr. Shank was setting the stage for Tony Culley-Foster, who ran a leg of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay on June 5 in Northern Ireland and brought his official 2012 Olympic Torch with him to show the children. Cully-Foster, who is originally from Northern Ireland, explained to the kids that “the torch has 8,000 holes, representing the 8,000 miles it is traveling from Greece to London, England, and the 8,000 people selected to run a stage of the Olympic Torch Relay.”
He pointed out that the Olympics are above politics, religion, and race, saying, “The five Olympic circles represent the continents. They’re linked together because we’re all one world.”
Marymount’s mascot, Bernie, the St. Bernard, joined in the pre-Olympics excitement and led the children on a jog around the sports arena. The kids then did several more laps with the torch held high.
Culley-Foster has a long history of undertaking inspirational runs to promote the Olympic ideals of health, fitness, sport, character, and community. In the summer of 1976, he ran across the United States and, in 1980, he ran the circumference of Ireland. He is the founding director and CEO of The Congressional Award, America’s highest recognition program for youth who accomplish high national goals in the categories of volunteer service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. Culley-Foster is also the founder and president of CFCO International, an international business consultancy for European companies doing business in the United States.
Telling the children that it’s great that sports are a part of their summer, Culley-Foster stressed that “physical fitness is important to leading a good life, and exercise and fitness should be part of your life all the time.”
– Bernie, Marymount’s mascot, holds the Olympic Torch on high in this group shot with the children and Tony Culley-Foster.PHOTO 2
– Tony Culley-Foster hands the torch to soccer camper Jack Freeman-Moore as he explains its symbolism.PHOTO 3
– Children take turns examining the Olympic Torch.
PHOTO 4 – Marymount student-athletes with Tony Culley-Foster (foreground) and Marymount President Matthew D. Shank (rear, right of center)