Ron Galimore (right)
© Xinhua

APRIL 9, 2008 – 1980 Olympian Ron Galimore of Indianapolis, Ind., was one of the torchbearers for the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay held today in San Francisco, Calif. Galimore was one of the torchbearers selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee. San Francisco is the only North American stop on the worldwide 2008 Olympic Torch Relay in advance of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

“It was an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Galimore, who is the vice president for events, Olympic relations and men’s program for USA Gymnastics. “It was very professional, and the mayor of San Francisco and the police department provided a safe environment for the torchbearers.

“I want to thank the U.S. Olympic Committee for choosing me as one of the torchbearers for the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay. Being an Olympian is so incredibly special and represents a very elite group of individuals. The Olympic ideals have been an integral part of how I have lived my life, and this recognition means a lot to me, especially because I was unable to compete in the 1980 Olympic Games.”

Galimore began his collegiate gymnastics career at Louisiana State University and finished it at Iowa State University. He was the NCAA’s first four-year NCAA champion in gymnastics (1977, floor exercise; 1978, 1980-81, vault). Among his accomplishments are: Iowa State’s Athlete of the Year; a nine-time All-American; the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in NCAA Championships history; and induction into the Iowa State Hall of Fame. Galimore was the first African American to be named to the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team. He was the founder and athletic director of the Ron Galimore Athletic Training Center USA in his home town of Tallahassee, Fla. Galimore served as the team leader for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. He started with USA Gymnastics in 1994 as men’s program director, and in 2005 he was promoted to vice president of events, Olympic relations and men’s program.

This is the fifth time the Bay Area has welcomed the torch: 1960, 1984, 1996 and 2002. The 2008 Olympic Torch Relay, sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, Samsung and Lenovo, began on March 26, 2008, in Olympia, Greece, and will travel to 22 international cities, including San Francisco, before returning to mainland China, where it will traverse the country for more than three months. It is scheduled to take 130 days and cover 137,000 kilometers. After having been carried by more than 21,000 runners, the flame will enter the Olympic Stadium as part of the opening ceremony of the XXIX Olympiad on Aug. 8, 2008.