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Olympians to help kick off ‘World Fit’ walking program
by Tribune Staff
Apr 16, 2012 | 1237 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPARKS — Olympians Torrey Palmer and Tamara McKinney will help Sparks Middle School and Glenn Duncan Elementary School in Reno launch the “World Fit” walking program today. The pair will be at Sparks Middle School at 2 p.m. and then at Glenn Duncan Elementary at 3:30 p.m.

World Fit is a program developed by Team USA swimming Olympian Gary Hall, Sr. (1968, 1972, 1976), aimed at combating childhood obesity by promoting fitness and the Olympic values through a six-week spring walking program. Elementary and middle school students in grades three through nine, as well as teachers, family and friends can participate. Olympians and Paralympians adopt schools to mentor and teach the importance of lifelong fitness and the Olympic values of perseverance, respect and fair play.

“It is an incredible honor to represent one’s country in the Olympics. By establishing World Fit, I wanted to create that same sense of motivation, fitness and pride that Olympians feel except at a much younger age,” Hall said in a press release. “Hopefully, these children will walk away inspired and confident they can achieve a healthy, active life.”

Palmer was a member of the USA rowing team that twice won silver medals at the World Championships. After completing her Olympic career, Palmer moved to Reno and began her new career as a school teacher. She now works on curriculum and instruction planning for the Washoe County School District.

McKinney is a three-time Alpine Skiing Olympian from Squaw Valley. She won the 1983 Women’s World Cup Championship and had nearly 100 podium finishes during her career.

The Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition (RTWGC) partnered with World Fit, the school district and local McDonald’s restaurant owner/operators to bring the program to Northern Nevada.

“Getting kids active and learning about Olympic values is what we’re about” said Paul Heglar, RTWGC youth outreach coordinator. “The program also can help build self-esteem and school spirit for the students who participate.”

Mary Pelton, owner of a McDonald’s in Sparks, says the restaurant chain’s growing commitment to healthy menu options made it the perfect fit for World Fit.

“We love being in this community,” Pelton said. “We’re glad to help give families a way to have kids learn about health and fitness at an early age.”

Since the first World Fit walk in 2009, 23,614 students from 43 different schools across America have logged in a total of 2,872,900 miles.

The Reno Tahoe Winter Games Coalition is a non-profit corporation working to have the Reno-Tahoe area become the next North American region selected to host the Olympic Winter Games. The coalition includes board members and volunteers from the public and private sectors of Nevada and California. For more information, visit

For more information about the World Fit program, visit
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