Monday, December 17, 2001

Tristate Olympic torchbearers




        A look at people who will carry the Olympic flame through the Tristate:

        • Martha Bredestege, 58, a Hospice nurse and breast-cancer survivor from Delhi Township, believes Americans can promote the Olympic spirit “by being tolerant and patient of one another and realizing we don't all have to think alike to be going in the same direction.”

        • Don McGeorge, 47, Union, Ky., executive vice president, the Kroger Co. “After the tragic events of Sept. 11, I think all Americans will take a more active interest in the Olympics, because they help symbolize American pride and patriotism. These athletes have the freedom to participate because of their hard work, dedication and pride.”

        • Byron Wilber, 49, Dearborn County, assembler for Cincinnati Inc. “It seems like it is a time that people all over the world get together in a competitive field but with sportsmanship.”

        • Kirk Willig, 22, Fairfield, senior at Hanover College,Hanover, . “It's been an honor to represent the city. I've always been a fan of the Olympics. It symbolizes competition, but in a good sense. The Olympics gives them a chance to come together, uniting the world. It's great to be involved with that.” • Janine Winters, 35, Finneytown, a swim instructor and life guard at Powel Crosley YMCA, Springfield Township. A native of Boston, sheis a running enthusiast and member of Run Like a Mother, a Finneytown-area running club. “I think, due to the happenings of Sept. 11, to me, the Olympics symbolize what it means to be an American . . . the pride . . . the fact that, in spite of what has happened, the country still goes on.”

        • Joe Wintrob, 58, Wyoming, a customer-service representative at AAA Cincinnati, survived a fatal car crash in January. He says the best way to exemplify the spirit of the Olympics is “by offering friendship to the contestants from other nations . . . showing hospitality while they're over here, and being goodwill ambassadors for the U.S.” His daughter, Allison, nominated him because of his inspiration recovery and rehabilitation from numerous serious injuries.

        • Joanne Wolf, 46, Mount Lookout, a Securities and Exchange Commission compliance specialist at a Madeira financial-planning firm. She'll complete her leg of the torch run onFourth Street and Broadway in a wheelchair, along with her constant companion, multiple sclerosis. Her daughter, Trisha, will run the following day. “It just seemed tailor-made for me,” Mrs. Wolf said. “An award of inspiration, for people dealing with adversity in their lives . . . You've got to keep going, to persevere and persist and do things important to you. . . . This is important to me.”

        • Trisha Wolf, 15, Mount Lookout, a student at Walnut Hills High School. The Olympics, she says, are a symbol of “the country coming together . . . celebrating through the athletes.” Americans have numerous opportunities to exemplify the Games' spirit. “They can just watch the Olympics . . . find a way to participate and set an example.” • Lisa Zaring, 17, East Walnut Hills, junior at Seven Hills High School. She has been a diabetic since age 5. Last spring she spent five days in Washington, lobbying for congressional support of stem-cell research. Impressed with her efforts, U.S. Rep. Rob Portman nominated her to be a torchbearer. “From fighting for stem-cell research and standing up within my community, I get a lot of self-confidence, and it really does pay off.” She advises others to “be yourself, and don't give up on what you believe in.”

       

        Mona Bronson-Fuqua, John Johnston, Mike Pulfer and Shauna Scott Rhone contributed to this report.

       



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