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Three-time Olympian Willie Banks named Olympic Torch Award recipient


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado – The United States Olympic Committee today announced three-time Olympian and USATF Board Member Willie Banks is the recipient of the Olympic Torch Award, which will be presented at a celebratory dinner during the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Assembly that will take place Sept. 25-26 at the Hilton Chicago.

The Olympic Torch Award recognizes an individual who has positively impacted the Olympic Movement by promoting the Olympic Ideals. Banks – who is known for popularizing the triple jump by encouraging rhythmic clapping from the crowd – served 11 years with the U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association, and oversaw the organization’s integration of Paralympics during his second term as president.

A member of the World Olympians Association, Banks has also served in several leadership roles at USATF, where he now sits on the board of directors. Renowned for his 1985 world-record performance – which stood for more than a decade – he continues to serve on the USOPA board of directors and is a member of the Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund.

Along with Banks receiving the Olympic Torch Award, Lucas Euser was selected as the recipient of the Jack Kelly Fair Play Award presented by BP, and Kristi Yamaguchi and the University of Central Oklahoma’s Endeavor Games were chosen as the Rings of Gold awards recipients.

The Friday awards dinner will conclude the Assembly, and feature six-time Olympic gold medalist Amy Van Dyken-Rouen as the keynote speaker, and Tamron Hall, co-host of NBC’s TODAY show and host of MSNBC’s NewsNation, as host.

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