From the Y to the Olympics
Jessica Hardy was only five years old when she asked her mom if she could join the Y swim team. Twenty years later, Jessica is racing for the chance to win Olympic gold in the London 2012 games.
Jessica's journey to the games began at her local YMCA, where the support of the Y community helped develop her skills and nurture her Olympic-sized dreams.
Last month, Jessica gave back to the Y by visiting the Weingart YMCA in South Los Angeles as a part of the U.S. Olympic Committee's "Team for Tomorrow" program. Our Y kids had the chance to learn about Jessica's Olympic journey, ask questions, and even get professional tips on preparing for competition.
Whether it's a dream of winning Olympic gold, or a summer learning the fundamentals of the breaststroke, more than 70,000 kids participating in Y youth sports programs across Los Angeles will build confidence, values, character, teamwork, and sportsmanship.
Giving all youth access to practice hours and weekend games with a coach and a team means a chance to win -- or lose -- with character, a chance for a future bigger than one can imagine.
Jessica swam her first laps at the Y, and it's the support of the Y community that helped her flourish. Perhaps the next Olympic star will emerge from this summer's Y basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, or swim program because of your support today.