SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwire - Aug 31, 2012) - U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team ring designer and donor O.C. Tanner announced today the winners of the O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award -- a handcrafted 14k gold ring that commemorates those who have inspired Olympic greatness. The following U.S. Olympians -- Olympic gold medalist in judo Kayla Harrison, hurdler Lolo Jones and shot put thrower Ryan Whiting -- will each be awarded with the Inspiration ring that they, in turn, will present to their inspiration for encouraging and empowering their Olympic journeys.
In partnership with the United States Olympic Committee, O.C. Tanner selected Kayla Harrison, the first-ever U.S. gold medalist in the sport of judo, to be the first recipient of the Inspiration Award. Harrison nominated her coach, Jimmy "Big Jim" Pedro, Sr. for treating her as "one of his own" and helping her become a strong, confident woman -- both on and off the mat.
The two additional winners were determined by a public vote on the O.C. Tanner "Appreciate Great Work" Facebook page. With more than 33,000 votes cast, Jones and Whiting garnered the most votes from the 24 nominations submitted. Jones nominated her sister, Angie Jefferson, for encouraging her to return to running and pursue her dream after she underwent spinal surgery. Whiting, who received the most votes, nominated his coach, Glenn Thompson, for his unfaltering mentorship and dedication to training Whiting with no compensation in return.
"The O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award allows U.S. Olympians and Paralympians to honor the important people behind-the-scenes who may never receive an Olympic medal of their own, but have made it possible for someone else," said Peter Zeytoonjian, USOC Managing Director of Consumer Products and Licensing. "We congratulate Harrison, Jones, Whiting and their Olympic mentors for inspiring our U.S. Olympic athletes and helping them achieve greatness."
The public can continue to view and share the U.S. Olympic athlete inspiration stories on the "Appreciate Great Work" Facebook page. O.C. Tanner also invites the public to vote for U.S. Paralympic athletes' stories of inspiration on Facebook beginning Wednesday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Sept. 9. Three U.S. Paralympic athletes will be selected by public vote to receive the Inspiration Award that they, in turn, will present to their mentors.
To learn more about the Inspiration Award and vote for your favorite U.S. Paralympic athlete, visit: http://www.facebook.com/appreciategreatwork.
Twittercue: #Paralympic stories are truly inspiring. Share and vote for your favorite: http://on.fb.me/NhWmwY #InspirationAward #TeamUSA
About the USOC
Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U.S. Olympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. As such, the USOC is responsible for the training, entering and funding of U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, while serving as a steward of the Olympic and Paralympic Movements throughout the country. For more information, visit TeamUSA.org.
About O.C. Tanner
O.C. Tanner is an international appreciation and recognition business based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company helps more than 8,000 clients worldwide appreciate people who do great work. Because celebrating great work inspires people to invent, to create and to discover. And when people are inspired, companies grow.
O.C. Tanner has also been the proud designer, manufacturer and donor of the U.S. Olympic Team rings since the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.