Special to NYSportsJournalism
May 29, 2012: Former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan and former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders are part of a group of 22 people who will comprise the U.S. leg of the 2012 Olympic Torch Relay sponsored in part by Coca-Cola.
The official flame, which was lit on May 10 at the Temple of Hera, Olympic — home of the ancient Olympic Games — reached the United Kingdom on May 19. It will travel around the nation for 70 days until it reaches London in time for the Opening Ceremonies for the Summer Games, which begin July 27.
The group being sponsored by Coca-Cola also includes 10 teenagers, all of whom were selected for their "limitless creativity in helping make a difference around the world;" 10 professionals from six national health organizations "who have made incredible strides in the fields of health and science"; and three Coca-Cola North America employees "who have committed themselves to giving back to their local communities," according to the Atlanta-based beverage company.
Presenting partners of the Olympic Torch Relay also include Samsung and Lloyds TSB.
Coca-Cola and Samsung are worldwide partners of the International Olympic Committee. Lloyds is an official partner of the London Games.
“Each torchbearer’s generosity and commitment to give back to their communities near and far has inspired us here at Coca-Cola,” Celeste Bottorff, vp for Living Well, Coca-Cola North America. “We now hope their participation in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay will motivate others around the world to make a positive difference in their communities.”
Coca-Cola said this part of the route would be in and around Oxford, England July 9-11.
“Each torchbearer’s generosity and commitment to give back to their communities near and far has inspired us here at Coca-Cola."
Summer Sanders won four medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Since retiring from swimming, she’s appeared as a commentator, analyst and host on all four major networks. She is also an ambassador for UNICEF and Right to Play.
Michelle Kwan is among the most decorated figure skaters in U.S. history, winning five World Championships, nine U.S. National Championships and two Olympic medals. She is currently a U.S. Public Diplomacy Envoy, meeting with young people worldwide to discuss social and educational issues, and is a member of President Obama's President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.