WMU News

WMU student carries Olympic Torch, featured on NBC

Jan. 3, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University graduate student will carry the Olympic Torch through the streets of South Bend, Ind., Friday, Jan. 4, and will be featured that evening during a short televised segment on NBC.

Scott Maieritsch, a doctoral student working on a degree in clinical psychology, is one of 65 Olympic Torchbearers, selected from among the 11,500 people carrying the Olympic Flame across the country, who will be profiled on NBC during the 65-day Olympic Torch Relay. The Coca-Cola Co. created and is sponsoring the televised vignettes with NBC to pay tribute to inspirational stories involving the people carrying the Olympic Torch to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Maieritsch was nominated for the honor by his younger brother, Chris, who wanted people to know about his brother's dedication to helping others. Scott Maieritsch is currently in his final year of graduate school and is completing a pre-doctoral internship at Indiana University, where he works with college students at IU's counseling center. As a graduate student, he has been active in such activities as working for a community-based HIV/AIDS support group and providing mental health services to other at-risk members of the communities where he has lived.

The 20-second vignette, which will air between 8 and 9 p.m. during NBC's "Providence," will tell Maieritsch's story through personal photos and videos and through the words of his brother's nomination essay. The vignette also will include footage of Maieritsch carrying the Olympic Flame earlier in the day.

"I'm touched that Chris sees me as an inspiration and chose to nominate me," Maieritsch says. "I've been fascinated by the Olympics ever since I was a child, so I feel honored to have the opportunity to actually be a part of it."

The Olympic Torch Relay began on Dec. 4 in Atlanta, host city of the most recent U.S. Olympic Games. More than 11,500 people will carry the Olympic Flame for approximately 13,500 miles through 46 U.S. states before it arrives in Salt Lake City Feb. 8.

Coca Cola selected approximately 2,500 of the torchbearers from more than 100,000 names submitted as part of a nationwide call for nominations. The nominations were made in the form of 50- to 100-word essays in which people explained how and why their nominee inspired them. From those 2,500 torchbearers, 65 were selected to be featured in primetime television vignettes designed to "remind people that inspiration comes in many forms. It's everyday peopledoing extraordinary things."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 269 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400