Taormina Sharing Olympic Dream
Sheila Taormina’s appearance Sunday at the “Haunted Hustle” at Ann Arbor Pioneer came at the perfect time for the three-time Olympian.
The Livonia native signed autographs for runners and walkers who participated in the event to benefit Girls on the Run — an after-school program designed to enhance the emotional, social and physical health of pre-teen girls.
That mission is also part of a message Taormina and four other elite female athletes hope to bring Michiganders beginning Friday.
Taormina — training to try to make her fourth Olympics in her third sport, modern pentathlon — has organized the inaugural “Sharing the Dream Tour.” The tour, which includes a workshop and a chance to train with the athletes, begins Friday at Trenton High School before moving onto Livonia Churchill on Saturday and the Houghton area Monday.
“How you’re made is just perfect — that’s the gift we all have,” Taormina said. “We hope to inspire young people and show them that success doesn’t come in one mold.”
Taormina, 38, helped recruit four other athletes to join the tour: Harper Woods native Angela Ruggiero (hockey), Shannon Miller (gymnastics) and weightlifters Cheryl Hayworth and Natalie Woolfolk.
“The fact that Michigan is kicking this off is great,” Taormina said. “We’ve already received calls from St. Louis and Atlanta wanting to do the same thing.”