AGANA, Guam - Sixteen-year-old Pilar Shimizu is no stranger to setting records.

Not only is she poised to become the youngest athlete ever to represent Guam at the Olympics, the rising senior at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School also will be the first female in 20 years to represent the island nation in swimming when she competes in London at the games that open July 27.

Shimizu qualified for the Olympics by breaking the Guam record in the 100-meter breaststroke with a time of 1:16:19. She bested the 20-year-old record held by Olympian Tammie Kaae.

Published in Features

MANCHESTER, England - A "family triathlon" was a novel idea; as far as Colm Hickey was aware, it hadn't been tried before.

It would involve teams of three people from the same family, each of whom would compete in one of the three categories of the event — either cycling, running or swimming — against other families.

Hickey, in his role as the London 2012 Olympics Catholic "gold champion" of Our Lady and St Joseph parish in London helped with the May 13 family triathlon. A week later, there was a huge soccer tournament, also organized by Hickey and, closer to the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics, there will be other parish-based, though not exclusively Catholic, sporting activities such as track-and-field events for children in the area.

Published in International

TORONTO - Every athlete’s dream is to compete at the Olympics, said Anjelika Reznik, a dream soon to be reality for her and fellow Toronto Catholic student Anastasiya Muntyanu.

The two 17-year-old students — Reznik attends Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts while Muntyana is a student at Bishop Allen Academy — will represent Canada in rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympic Summer Games which begin July 27 in London, England.

“I actually would have never thought I’d be going to the Olympics,” said Reznik, a native of Kazakhstan who spent eight years in Israel prior to immigrating to Canada where her gymnastics career began. “The reason my mom put me in gymnastics was  actually to give me something do instead of just walking around. I started more for fun.”

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

MANCHESTER, England - Some people are simply gifted at sport; they excel at any challenge involving a ball, a stick or a physical contest nearly as soon as they turn their hands to it.

One such person is Father Geoff Hilton, a priest from Salford Diocese in the north of England, who will be serving as a chaplain to athletes competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

It was because of his sporting prowess that the former police officer from Manchester was hand-picked to become one of 16 official Catholic chaplains appointed by the Olympics organizing committee.

Published in International

WASHINGTON - More than three dozen U.S. and British faith-based investment firms have banded together to get the Summer Olympics' major sponsors and tourist hotels to sign a pledge saying they will work to stop human trafficking around the Olympic Games.

So far, the campaign has had some success.

Published in Features

LONDON - Visitors to the 2012 Olympic Games might be surprised to discover the extent to which London has been marked by the Catholic faith over the centuries.

Riding the trains of the London Underground they notice stations with names such as Temple, Blackfriars, Charing Cross and Covent Garden. Above ground, the traces of Catholicism are yet more noticeable: Whitefriars, Greyfriars, Ave Maria Lane and Paternoster Square all denote a rich Catholic heritage that precedes the Reformation.

Published in Features

MANCHESTER, England - Catholics in British cities hosting events for the 2012 Olympic Games are being urged to show hospitality to athletes who cannot afford to stay in hotels.

They are being encouraged to register with the Athlete Family Homestay Program and open their homes for eight days or more to Olympic and Paralympic competitors and their families from poor nations.

Published in International

MANCHESTER, England - British bishops plan to use the 2012 London Olympic Games to renew interest in the Catholic faith, with initiatives ranging from fighting human trafficking and homelessness to promoting youth ministry and ecumenical dialogue.

The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is also preparing resources for liturgies and holy hours and will post them on the Internet before the July 27-Aug. 12 games.

Published in International
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