The Nor Cal Chapter of USA Dance held two Olympic Day events in 2014 – On June 21st at Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo and on June 22nd at The Shops At Tanforan in San Bruno. Our guest Olympian was rower Mike Altman (2004 and 2008 Olympic Games). Mike spoke to the audience about the Olympic values of perseverance, good sportsmanship and fair play and reminisced about his own personal journey to the Olympic Games. Members of the public stopped by to speak with Mike afterword and to get his autograph. Mike brought with him lots of Olympic athlete cards, which were a hit with the kids in the audience on both days and were eagerly picked up.
Since an important element of Olympic Day is to encourage people of all ages to become physically active, what better way to get good exercise than to dance. Nor Cal Chapter members took to the floor with a series of DanceSport demonstrations, followed by a simple Cha Cha lesson, allowing members of the public from the very young to senior citizen age to stretch their legs and learn a few dance steps.
My thanks go out to all who made these events a success: the USOC, the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, Olympian Mike Altman, and the staffs of the Hillsdale Shopping Center and The Shops At Tanforan.
And thanks also to Nor Cal Board Members: Vice President Karen Andersen, whose masterful job as MC kept the events moving while imparting information to the audience about the history of each dance and the dancers they were seeing; Chapter President Jim Kleinrath who did double duty as a demonstrator and dance instructor, and Chapter Secretary Mark Scardina, who also did double duty as DJ and photographer.
And a final special thank you to our wonderful DanceSport athletes, who shared their passion for dance with the public not only through their wonderful dance routines, but also by joining in the Cha Cha lesson afterward: Pre-Teen athletes Tyler Li and Jessica Lowe, Junior athletes Lance Yasinsky and Paloma Pronin, and Adult/Senior Athletes Jim Kleinrath dancing with his student Junko Tanabe.
The celebration of Olympic Day strengthens the link DanceSport has with the Olympic Movement, and the Nor Cal Chapter of USA Dance was very pleased to have done its part in bringing the Olympic message to appreciative audiences in Northern California.