Team USA ready to kick off Memorial Day push

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The U.S. Olympic Committee will launch its second year of the “America Supports Team USA” initiative, which capitalizes on the patriotic period between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July.

The program will run Monday, May 31, through Saturday, July 31.

Designed to enable Americans to be part of the Olympic mission, the campaign will also serve as a fundraiser to support the athletes. And new this year, people who visit www.teamusa.org will have the option to make a donation directly to a National Governing Body of choice (i.e. USA Archery), the USOC or U.S. Paralympics.

The effort will be promoted by a number of organizations.

The USOC’s national governing bodies  will be heavily involved.  “America Supports Team USA” will be featured at events such as:  World League Volleyball matches, USA Track and Field’s Junior and Senior Track and Field Championships and Nike Prefontaine Classic, USA Field Hockey’s Women’s National Championships, USA Wrestling’s World Team Trials, USA Badminton’s US Open and Junior Nationals, and USA Taekwondo’s Junior and Senior Nationals.  The initiative will also be supported in NGB publications and on their websites.

Several major league baseball teams will also run the “America Supports Team USA” public service announcements at ballparks around the nation, featuring athletes such as Apolo Anton Ohno (short track speedskating), Lindsey Vonn (alpine skiing), Lisa Leslie (basketball) and Evan Lysacek of figure skating and “Dancing With the Stars” fame.

Olympians and Paralympians will throw out ceremonial first pitches at several ballparks in June and July.

USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun sees the initiative as crucial to the athlete development program.

“Like many non-profit organizations, fundraising is a critical element of our success,” he said.