This summer, it’s time to make a splash.
The LA84 Foundation is partnering with the USA Swimming Foundation in 2017 to save lives through swim lessons while raising awareness to reduce the risk of child drownings. Announced Wednesday at a press conference with USA Swimming Foundation ambassadors Missy Franklin and Rowdy Gaines at the LA84 Foundation/John C. Argue Swim Stadium, the program partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. In Los Angeles, it is LA84 running the youth premier water safety program.
LA84’s Learn to Swim program will reach 15,000 Southern California youth this summer, continuing to provide swim lessons and water sports programs in underserved areas at a reduced cost. Over 150,000 Southern California youth have learned how to swim through the program. The program is part of LA84’s Summer Splash program, which was established in 1986 and provides basic instruction and competitive opportunities at over 100 Los Angeles County pools and in four aquatic sports: swimming, diving, water polo and synchronized swimming.
“Learning to swim can save your life.” said LA84 President and CEO Renata Simril. “Learning to swim can also improve the quality of your life – your health, your fitness, your mood. LA84 strongly supports aquatic programs and venues.”
Children younger than 14 account for 25 percent of drowning deaths in the United States, while African American and Latino youth drowning at a much higher rate than their Caucasian peers. LA84 consistently aims to fund and assist underserved areas and communities with its programming, while also serving as a connector between organizations and the youth of Southern California. The USA Swimming Foundation presented a $2,500 donation to the swimming programs of the City of El Centro, an LA84 grantee.
Franklin and Gaines were joined at the stadium by Simril, five-time USA Water Polo Olympian Tony Azevedo, four-time gold medalist swimmer John Naber and more than 100 youth participating in the Learn To Swim program. Franklin donned a swimsuit to join the young athletes in the pool following the announcement, hopping into the historic pool. “Being in the water is where you can be whoever you want to be,” Franklin said.
Also enacted was a “Promise Fence” featuring personal messages from Los Angeles area parents and children who promise to learn to swim this summer. The fence will be displayed at the Wilmington YMCA for the remainder of May in honor of National Water Safety Month.
“My mom was never comfortable around water and she enrolled me in swim lessons at a very young age because she didn’t want to pass down that fear to me,” said Franklin. “She knew that it would be an important life skill for me, which is why I’m committed to helping the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash initiative educate parents and reduce the risk of drowning for their children by getting more kids in swim lessons.”
The LA84 Summer Splash Program begins on June 1, and concludes with its Swim & Synchro Festival on August 12 and Water Polo & Dive Festival on August 19.
For more information, reach out to LA84 Program Officer Nolan Ortiz at NOrtiz@la84.org.
The LA84 Foundation welcomed the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy team on Tuesday afternoon, introducing the young athletes to LA’s Olympic heritage while also bringing in industry professionals for an informational panel on careers of sports. The 27 team members met Sam the Eagle, the official mascot of the 1984 Olympic Games, while also holding torches from the 1984 Games and touring LA84’s collection of Olympic memorabilia. The players also learned about LA84’s mission and how athletes engage and give back to their communities, while also hearing about the LA 2024 Olympic bid.
The visit concluded with a panel of four sports professionals, who spoke to the Academy team about their journeys to and experiences in their jobs. The four panelists were Allison Citelli, Senior Manager, Events & Business Development at Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission; Johnathan Franklin, Los Angeles Rams Community and External Relations; Tiffany Rubin, Manager at the Los Angeles Dodgers RBI Program; and Luca Servodio, Communications Manager for the LA 2024 Olympic bid.
Franklin, who played football for UCLA and the Green Bay Packers before a career-ending neck injury led to a career transition into community relations, tied up the panel nicely with a valuable piece of advice to the high-school age soccer players. “You can’t live in a box, thinking about sports,” he said. “You all are blessed with talents, skills and abilities. Use that on the field, but also outside of that. Know that you are worth more than just being an athlete.”
Did you know that soccer is the most-played sport by youth in LA County? Find out more facts about soccer in LA inside the 2016 LA84 Foundation Youth Sports Survey of LA County.
The LA84 Foundation is teaming with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Clinton Foundation and over 30 additional partners as part of #GirlsAre, a campaign that will motivate and inspire young women and girls to get and stay involved in youth sports. Girls are twice as likely as boys to drop out of youth sports by age 14, while LA84’s 2016 Youth Sports Survey of Los Angeles County found that the rate of inactive girls in LA County is more than double that of boys. At LA84, the foundation is committed to providing and promoting programs for female athletes in order to address gender inequity in sport.
LA84 grants to programs like LAUSD Beyond The Bell and Play Rugby USA allow more and more young girls to participate in sports, while the foundation hosts events, ranging from convenings on women in coaching to a panel of female sporting pioneers, to connect and encourage dialogue among women in the sporting world. To join LA84, use the #GirlsAre hashtag across social media and continue to support girls across all their athletic endeavors.
By Grace Lee
It’s college graduation season, which means commencement speeches! LA84 intern Grace Lee has been studying up on addresses from prominent sporting figures, and put together five top examples. See and read their speeches below.
1) Magic Johnson – Retired Los Angeles Lakers star, current Lakers President of Basketball Operations, 1992 Olympic gold medalist
Commencement Address at Michigan State University, 2010
“You can’t control if your boss will like you or not, but you can control if your boss respects you or not. And how can you do that? By being the first one to work and the last one to leave.”
2) Anita L. DeFrantz – LA84 President Emeritus, International Olympic Committee Executive Board member, LA 2024 Senior Advisor for Legacy, 1976 Olympic bronze medalist (rowing)
Commencement Address at Connecticut College, 2004
“… our challenge is to live the final stanza of a song you have heard or sung hundreds of times … land of the free and the home of the brave!”
3) Vin Scully – Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster, 1950-2016
Commencement Address at Pepperdine University, 2008
“The biggest menace to a man’s success is a willingness — is a perfect willingness to excuse his own mistakes.”
4) Billie Jean King – Hall of Fame tennis player, 12-time Grand Slam singles champion, Founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, World TeamTennis and the Women’s Sports Foundation
Commencement Address at the University of Massachusetts, 2000
“Every ball that comes to me is a decision. Do I slice it, do I hit cross-court, do I hit topspin, do I hit sidespin, do I lob? What do I do? But I have to accept responsibility for that. And that’s where sports teaches us to put it on the line, so to speak, and live it. And here remember one thing. It’s everyone’s responsibility to lead, to honor, and to fight, for everyone’s basic rights, for equality.”
Watch King’s 2013 speech at Williams College below.
5) Eric Garcetti – Mayor of Los Angeles, member of LA 2024 Olympic bid
Commencement Address at Columbia University, 2015
“Live the good life for you and live to find the good life for others. If you do so, this education and this experience won’t just be four great years of your life. It will be your life.”
Visit LA84’s News & Features page for more exciting content!
LA84 Foundation President & CEO Renata Simril spoke towards of the International Olympic Committee at the StubHub Center on Wednesday, outlining LA84’s success in building an impactful Olympic legacy in light of LA 2024’s bid to return the Games to Los Angeles. “Hosting the Olympics and Paralympics is a unique opportunity to again use sport to improve lives through health, education, leadership, culture and environmental stewardship. LA 2024’s commitment to seizing this opportunity guarantees that our Games leave a human legacy that will last for generations,” Simril said.
The IOC Evaluation Commission is visiting Los Angeles this week, four months ahead of its September 13 election of the 2024 host city. Other speakers, including California Endowment President & CEO Robert Ross and LA 2024 Executive Director of Sustainability Brence Culp, addressed the environmental sustainability and social legacy a potential 2024 Olympic Games could bring to Los Angeles. Founded with a portion of the surplus from the 1984 Olympic Games, LA84 has invested over $230 million in Southern California’s communities and positively impacted more than three million kids through youth sports programs.
The LA84 Foundation and the LA 2024 Olympic bid engaged with Olympians and Angelenos alike at their joint booth at the 2017 Festival of Books. From unique Olympic-themed prizes to Olympian authors signing copies of their book, thousands swarmed to the booth to both learn about and show off Los Angeles’ rich Olympic heritage and spirit. Hop into the drivers’ seat and relive the magic of the weekend. How many Olympians and authors can you recognize?