When the summer Olympics open in a little more than three weeks, Snohomish County will have more than a passing interest.
Three of our athletes – rower Sarah Jones of Stanwood, gymnast Brett McClure of Mill Creek and discus thrower Jarred Rome of Marysville – will represent the United States in Athens. Their stories of determination and perseverance are an inspiration, and now will continue to unfold on the world stage. Family, friends and the rest of us will tune in with pride.
Jones will be making her second Olympic appearance. She rowed on the women’s eight team that finished sixth in Sydney four years ago, and will compete this year with teammate Kate MacKenzie in the women’s pairs. The two finished first at the U.S. Olympic Small Boat Trials earlier this month in New Jersey.
McClure and Rome are both first-time Olympic qualifiers. McClure, this newspaper’s 2003 Man of the Year in Sports, was part of the U.S. team that took the silver medal at the World Championships last summer. He earned an automatic place on the Olympic team with strong finishes at nationals and at the U.S. trials.
At 27, Rome is a model of resolve. He fell short of making the U.S. team in 2000, but rather than giving up, he moved to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in California. He credits that decision for his first-place finish at the trials on Sunday.
The Olympics are always a welcome diversion from the more frustrating events on the international scene, offering thrilling examples of what humanity can achieve with talent and hard work. Snohomish County has even more to cheer for this summer as its native sons and daughter go for the gold.