On February 18, 2002, in the middle of the Olympic games, I was lucky enough to walk down the streets of Salt Lake City with Matiss Zacmanis, '97 a Latvian national and Berea's first Olympian. People stared. They pointed. They asked him for his autograph, and to please pose for a photo with their children. They thought I was Latvian, and welcomed me to the United States.
At the top of the bobsleigh run, people around me from the U.S., Canada, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Mexico all yelled "Lat-Vi-A! Lat-Vi-A!: because I asked them to. I hugged a woman named Gunta, who gave me her beautiful 4'x6' Latvian flag because I couldn't find one for our photo shoot. The Olympics are an experience unlike any other - where every competitor, whether first or 31st, garners the same noisy and exuberant support. And one of those athletes was a record-holding Berea College track star-a Latvian who got into bobsleigh four years ago and is now part of his national team.
International learning and multicultural perspectives have always been a significant part of what Berea is all about, and are key initiatives in the College's strategic plan, Being & Becoming: Berea College in the Twenty-First Century. We hope you enjou reading about Berea's Olympic experiences.
We are also proud to indroduce the Berea College Magazine's new look. Berea's Printing Services division worked hard to maintain the College's commitment to good fund stewardship and plain living by producing a more colorful publication without a cost increase. Let us know what you think!
Ann Mary Quarandillo, Editor