Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

Last week, the Kingwood Country Club was home to a Hollywood sneak-peak for one of our hometown celebrities ñ George Foreman. Foremanís family gathered to share a glimpse of what it is like to be George, George, George, George, George, and Georgia Foreman in a preview of their new reality TV show, complete with hotdogs cooked to perfection on the George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine!

My first introduction to George Foreman was in the summer of 1968. George claimed the highest honor is sports ñ the Gold Medal at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. His performance in the ring was spectacular, but it was his patriotism after his victory that propelled him into the spotlight. At only 19 years old, Foreman defeated the favored Soviet opponent to win the Gold and celebrated by walked around the ring, holding high a small American flag.  This was a unifying display of patriotism during a time of political upheaval and strife in America and it was one of the most patriotic moments I had ever seen.

The Olympic Games have always been synonymous with patriotism. Since the first ancient games in 776 B.C. countries all over the world put their differences aside and competed. My family, like most American families, have always followed the Olympics and the many Houstonians, like George Foreman, that have represented the USA and our continued pursuit for Olympic Gold.

And then who can forget, Americaís sweetheart standing just 4 feet tall and a grin a mile wide.

George has gone on to become the Heavyweight Champion of the World, Olympic Hall of Famer, pastor, nationally recognized spokesperson, entrepreneur, author, reality television star, mentor and role model.  Houston has been blessed by Georgeís generosity and with a wealth of other local Olympians that have a positive impact on our community.

According to historical records, the first ancient Olympic Games can be traced back to 776 BC. They were dedicated to the Olympian gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until Emperor Theodosius decreed in 393 A.D. that all such "pagan cults" be banned.

The revival of the ancient Olympics attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany, France and Great Britain. On 6 April 1896, the American James Connolly won the triple jump to become the first Olympic champion in more than 1,500 years. Winners were awarded a silver medal and an olive branch. The German athlete Carl Schumann finished in the top five events of three different sports. The people of Athens greeted the Games with great enthusiasm. Their support was rewarded when a Greek shepherd, Spyridon Louis, won the most popular event, the marathon.

And thatís just the way it is.