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As Olympic Competition Begins Today, Rubio Honors Florida’s Winter Olympians

Feb 6, 2014 | Press Releases

Rubio: “I want to congratulate four athletes with ties to my home state of Florida who are competing in this year’s games. Yes, believe it or not, even in the Sunshine State you can find ice rinks – like Skate Mania in Ocala – where many Olympic dreams are first conceived.”

Washington, D.C. – In this week’s installment of Marco’s Constituent Mailbox video series, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) honored Florida’s Winter Olympians, as competition gets underway today at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. 

View Rubio’s full remarks on YouTube here. For television stations interested in airing today’s remarks, a broadcast quality video is available here.

Below is a transcript of Rubio’s full remarks:

I thought this week, what I would do, is just focus on the Winter Olympics which are about to get underway because we have some Floridians participating in that. I want to congratulate Team USA. Some 230 of our top athletes will be representing our country and going for the gold in one of the world’s greatest athletic events and traditions, which is being held this year in Sochi, Russia.

Behind each of our athletes, there’s an inspiring story. Years of training, personal battles, sacrifice and adversity, have all led them to this moment. To their final push, to be a hundredth of a second faster than their rivals, to nail that perfect landing, to stand on the podium with a medal around their necks, and maybe even to hear the Star Spangled Banner playing for them as the American flag rises above others.

I want to congratulate, this week, four athletes with ties to Florida who are competing in this year’s games. Yes, believe it or not, even in the Sunshine State you can find ice rinks – like Skate Mania in Ocala – where many Olympic dreams are first conceived.

Brittany Bowe is from Ocala. She got her start at the Skate Mania rink, and she is competing in long track speed skating. Throughout her life, Brittany has been a fierce competitor, whether it’s playing point guard for Florida Atlantic University, or as a young girl competing against her cousins during summer vacations. Floridians, but especially in Ocala, are very proud of Brittany, and we all look forward to seeing that fierce competitive spirit on display against the best in world.

Joey Mantia is also from Ocala and, at a very young age, found his passion as an inline speed skater. He’s broken many inline world records and won several championships. But just a few years ago, his dream of being an Olympian led him to make the move to the ice. Joey has been a winner at every stage of his career, and we’ll be cheering him on as he looks to continue that success in the long track speed skating competition.

Lauryn Williams starred on the University of Miami’s track team and she actually competed in three Summer Olympics, including London where she won a gold medal. But in Sochi, she’ll compete in the bobsled competition – a sport that she took up just seven months ago. And we wish her the very best.

And finally, there’s Eddy Alvarez. He’s from Miami, and he’ll  be competing in short track speed skating. And by the way, he’s also the second American of Cuban descent ever to make the U.S. Winter Olympic team. Now a year ago, Eddy was thinking about giving up. He had undergone five hours of grueling surgery to repair 12 tears to his patellar tendons. He questioned whether it was all worth it. But he persevered, he worked hard and as the Olympics get underway, he will have an entire nation behind him.

To Brittany, Joey, Lauryn and Eddy – in Florida, we are proud of you for representing our state as well as our country. Your example is inspiring young people across our state and country. Your careers are proof that no dream is too big – even dreams of one day being a Winter Olympian from Florida.

We’ll be rooting hard for you guys, along with the rest of Team USA. Good luck. And go USA.