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Pride and dedication: What the Olympics mean to us at Manassas Park Parks and Recreation

Manassas Park Community Center
After warming up, future soccer stars get ready to play a soccer game in Strikers Soccer!

Have you been watching the Olympics in Rio on TV? Have you lost track of just how many gold medals Michael Phelps has won? (To date, he has won 32 gold medals!)

You hear the same type of stories about the Olympic athletes during every Olympics—the sacrifice, the dedication, the perseverance, and the never-ending support of friends, family, and countrymen to enable the Olympic athletes to perform at the highest levels as the world watches.

The official symbol of the Olympics are the five interlocking colored rings, representing the continents of North and South America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia. So when you hear an announcer exclaim that the world is watching, it is a safe bet that the world IS watching the Olympics!

Watching the Olympics really does get you excited about sports, and the Parks and Recreation staff at the Manassas Park Community Center is excited about the Olympics too. Here’s what some of the staff said when asked what the Olympics means to them:

Sue Jurjevic, Senior Recreation Specialist, says, “I am always impressed by the gifts and talents of the athletes, and I do believe that their commitment to their sport does show when they compete.

Tony Thomas, Recreation Services Supervisor, says, “To me, it means pride and dedication. The amount of pride you feel for your country competing in athletics is exhilarating. And I chose dedication because the athletes train year-round, for almost their entire lives to compete at this level. The Olympics also brings a sense of togetherness. Regardless of cultural differences or political views, most Americans put that to the side and cheer on the athletes representing our country!”

Sarah Barnett, Operations,and Aquatics Manager says, As I have gotten older, I have found that my taste in Olympic sports has broadened to not only Track and Gymnastics but also to Swimming and Diving. This past week, I have been glued to the TV at 8 p.m. to watch the gymnastics and swimming competitions. I made watching the Olympics a family affair and even allowed my young daughters to stay up past their bedtimes to watch. My oldest daughter loves watching swimming while cheering on Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky. Meanwhile, my youngest is already begging me to put her in Soccer AND gymnastics! I am not surprised that my girls would fall in love with sports by watching the Olympics. I fell in love with Gymnastics as a child by watching the Olympics.”

Amelia Powell, Customer Service Supervisor, says, “I’ve been staying up until midnight watching the Olympics because I am hooked on cheering for our athletes. I love it all and I admire the athletes so much. They work so hard training their whole lives for these games, and it gives me such pride in our country that there is no way I can turn my TV off when the Olympics are on!”

Annette Starr, an Administrative Assistant, says, “Every time the Olympics comes around I love to watch it. It’s like a ‘coffee break’ from all the other things going on in the news. And when I watch it I always come away wanting to try a new sport. Like the first time I saw the rowing team, I wanted to try rowing. And believe it or not, I actually tried running (although not at these outstanding athlete’s levels). Some of the others sports that peaked my interest: bicycling, swimming, volleyball, archery, and (this year) air rifle. Once you try these different sports you realize how talented and hardworking these athletes are. So when I see them up on the stand receiving their well-earned medals, I certainly feel proud and in awe of their accomplishments.”

Maria Bosack, Writer/Content Specialist, says, “One of the girls in my neighborhood was such a good swimmer that her family moved to Florida so she could train with a famous coach in the hopes of making the Olympic team. Every family in our neighborhood was glued to their TV’s when she competed. We screamed so loudly with pure adoration and delight hoping she could hear us! She never won a medal, but to us, that didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered is that she was there, she competed, she persevered, she made it to the Olympics! I will NEVER stop cheering for the American teams in the Olympics.”

What would you say that the Olympics mean to you? 

Would you respond like the Parks and Recreation staff at the community center did? The staff really admired the athletes, were excited to see the intense level of competition and felt proud to be American—and that is exactly what the Olympics guiding principle is a quote by Baron de Coubertin: “The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Thank you to our U.S. Olympic athletes who have fought hard and have won making us so very proud.

Kids and parents who are exposed to swimming and other sports they have fallen in love with while watching the Olympics will find athletic programs and classes that they can participate in at the Manassas Park Community Center. There are swim lessons, beginner gymnastics classes, sports conditioning, sports leagues including basketball, and so much more. There are athletic programs available for all ages and skill levels, just give us a call for more information!

The Manassas Park Community Center is located at 99 Adams Street in Manassas Park, VA. Managed by the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation, the facility is home to basketball courts, a swimming pool, and wellness areas as well as a variety of special events and programs. For more information visit us at or call at 703.335.8872.

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