For Immediate Release — October 19, 2007 | HQ
Laura Stoller: DoDDS Pacific, Okinawa Communications Officer | DSN 634-1953
KADENA, AB, OKINAWA — October 19, 2007 — "We have an Olympic medalist in our midst and we are very proud of him!" exclaimed Dr. Gayle Vaughn-Wiles, superintendent of DoDDS Okinawa, who has recognized Daymond La Marr for his outstanding dedication, loyalty, and commitment to Special Olympics. La Marr, a Kadena High School student, competed in the World Games held in Shanghai, China October 2-11. He was the only athlete from Okinawa and the second American to compete on a Japanese Team. During the bowling competitions, Daymond, known as DJ to his team, earned a silver medal in the doubles competition and finished seventh in singles. His boys' team, comprised of DJ and three other athletes, finished in 4th place. Only one other DoDEA American student has competed on a Japanese Team. In 1983, as the very first Japanese Special Olympic Team prepared for their very first International Special Olympics experience, Karen Allen, a student at Yokota West Elementary School was invited to be a member of the team.
DJ served as Team Captain for his bowling team comprised of four girls and four boys. He gave a send-off speech in both Japanese and English to the entire 50-member Japanese team and gave pep talks to his bowling team each day. This, along with making new friends, was one of his favorite parts of the experience. It was a tearful goodbye for his team when the games were over.
DJ's success will be recognized by his school at their semester awards ceremony to be held in February. In addition, his picture will go up on the Kadena High School 'Athletics Wall of Fame'.
DJ was accompanied by his parents, brother Jonathan and Ayako Kinjo, his coach. This was the 45th annual games and only the second time in the games' history that the event took place outside of the United States. Almost 7500 athletes took part in the year's largest sporting event.
Dr. Vaughn-Wiles added, "DJ is a wonderful example of what determination and hard work can accomplish. With the support of his family, teachers and community, DJ has become the first in our midst to achieve such a high honor. We know this is just one of many successes that he will have in his life!"
(Courtesy of DoDDS Okinawa Public Affairs)