LONDON--(Marketwire - Aug 10, 2012) - U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team ring designer and donor O.C. Tanner today announced judo athlete Kayla Harrison as the first of three winners of the O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award. Following her performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Harrison will present her mentor and coach, Jimmy "Big Jim" Pedro Sr., with a 14k gold commemorative Olympic ring to honor and thank him for inspiring her Olympic journey. O.C. Tanner, with support from the United States Olympic Committee, selected Harrison's story from more than 20 U.S. Olympic athlete tributes submitted for the award.
"No matter how many times I've lost, given up or felt like my world was over, he [Pedro] stood by me and pushed me to be the best possible version of myself," said Kayla Harrison as part of her inspiration story submission. "He made me a strong, confident woman -- on and off the mat. For that I am forever grateful."
Pedro helped lead Harrison to become the first American to ever win an Olympic gold medal in the sport of judo. Harrison will, in turn, present gold to Pedro in the coming weeks through the Inspiration Award -- a 14k gold ring that features a laurel crown and the words "Inspire, Olympian and Mentor" in Greek. The memento is an acknowledgment of those who may not receive Olympic medals of their own, but who inspire others to attain Olympic glory.
"The Inspiration Award gets to the root of the success of U.S. Olympians -- their believers and supporters," said Peter Zeytoonjian, USOC Managing Director of Consumer Products and Licensing. "The USOC is pleased to honor those who support our Olympic heroes and thanks O.C. Tanner for its support of U.S. athletes and their mentors. Kayla's story is an inspiration to us all."
The two remaining winners of the O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award will be selected by a public vote on the "Appreciate Great Work" Facebook page (Facebook.com/AppreciateGreatWork). From now through the end of the London 2012 Olympic Games on Aug. 12, the public is encouraged to read the athletes' stories and vote for the ones they deem to be the most inspirational. The two U.S. Olympic athletes who receive the most Facebook votes will each receive the O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award that they can present to their mentors.
O.C. Tanner also invites the public to vote for U.S. Paralympic athletes' stories of inspiration on the "Appreciate Great Work" Facebook page beginning Wednesday, Aug. 29 through Sunday, Sept. 9. A total of three U.S. Paralympic athletes will be selected to receive the Inspiration Award to share with their mentors.
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.