Native American Olympic Team Foundation in the Press!
Native Voices: Naomi Lang
First Indian Woman Olympian; Hot ‘Latin on Ice’ TV Special
Sun, 14 Jan 2007 21:55:46 -0800 PST
by Suzy Chaffee
To the sultry strains of Carlos Santana / Rob Thomas, stunning Naomi Lang (Karuk Tribe), 2002 Utah Olympic ice dancing star, melts the “Latin On Ice” Special on the Style Network Friday, Jan. 12th at 5pm ET and on Sunday, Jan. 14th at 10am ET.
Befittingly the Seminole’s Hard Rock Casino in Ft. Lauderdale was the backdrop for Naomi’s shining moment with her hot Russian partner Peter Tchernyshev, who inspired a standing ovation at Salt Lake. The pair’s seductive dance called “Smooth,” is the “pride and joy” of their month long marathon of performances on NBC Ice Dancing Specials.
Naomi rose to Olympic peaks of the skating world after capturing 5 time National Ice Dance Titles, and because she is the first Native American Woman, and only Native to compete in the Olympics in this Millennium, she is the great hope and inspiration for Indian Country, especially young girls.
*(Photo Caption: 2002 Olympic Ice Dancers Stars, Naomi Lang (Karuk Tribe) and Peter Tchernyshev, demonstrating “Smoothe” moves for their upcoming “Latin on Ice” Special on Style Network this Friday and Sunday, during “Today Show” appearance at NYC’s Rockefeller Center rink. Photo credit: © Mark Fitzgerald.)
To first warm up the viewers, Julio Iglesias and Mariah Carey provide the romantically sensual mood for Naomi & Peter with their beautiful rendition of “When You Tell Me That You Love Me.”
The show, (that first aired on NBC last Sunday), then explodes with fun, sizzling Latin dancers and legendary singers, like Marco Antonio Solis, who also inspire a whole new flavor of skating performances out ofOlympic gold medalist Brian Boitano, Italian ladies champion Sylvia Fontana, 10 time Canadian dance champion Shae Lynn Borne, US mens’ champion Rudy Galindo; and 3 time US mens’ champion Michael Weiss.
“It’s great that this time you have a few chances to see one of Naomi and Peter’s all time best performances. And if you miss it on TV you can still catch a piece of ‘Smooth’ on fsvids.net,” said Leslie Dixon, Naomi’s remarkable mom, whose night shifts nursing helped Naomi realize her Olympic and now professional dreams. Along with the skating, Naomi was invited by the Seminoles to speak to their youth about sports, which she loves.
Leslie brought it to Native American Olympic Team Foundation (NVF) attention there was another Indian woman in the Modern Olympics, Cheri Becerra (Omaha).
CHERI BECERRA - FIRST & ONLY INDIAN FEMALE OR MALE PARALYMIAN
Naomi is actually the first and only Indian woman in the Olympics, and Cheri Becerra (See Google story), with the assistance of the Native American Sports Council, is the first and only female or male Paralympian. Courageous Cheri was a Gold Medalist and World Record Holder in Wheelchair Racing in the Atlanta & Sydney Paralympics, which is regularly held two weeks after the regular Olympics. Their bravery gives us all courage!
With a few ski areas, like Colorado’s Telluride, Aspen and Winter Park as well as California’s Snow Summit interested in including Native Americans in their “Challenge” Programs, Cheri may inspire and open doors of joyful opportunities to youth who have been sidelined by Indian Country’s diabetes epidemic. Native American Olympic Team Foundation is looking for resources and volunteers to help make those wonderful connections possible.
WOMEN KEY TO THE HEALTHY FAMILIES
Naomi’s and Cheri’s role modeling is so important because women are the key to getting the whole family fit and “the right to sport is the right to health.” That is why I (Suzy Chaffee) led in 1975, (at the request of PE Teachers of America), the Title 1X March for Equal Opportunities for Women Sports in Schools down Pennsylvania Avenue. That gave me the chutzpah to then set up the first meeting with Vice President Mondale at the White House with legendary leaders like Billy Jean and Olympic Gold medal swimmer Donna deVarona, to get the law enforced for the first time.
With a team effort by Women’s Sports Foundation (founded by Billy Jean, Donna & Colgate’s David Foster) women went from having 1% of the athletic budgets to mid 40%. This has since saved taxpayers and families a trillion in welfare (delays teen pregnancy) and healthcare. And 20 years later it produced a crop of girls that so amazed Americans, including with their good sportsmanship, at the Atlanta Olympics, that NBC dubbed the games “The Women’s Olympics.”
NVF is rallying cross-cultural support behind helping our First Americans win the bid to create a Native American Olympic Teams for the China and Vancouver Olympics, to give more than two Indian women and 12 men, (in history), a chance. This plan is the fast track to lifting and restoring the health and spirit of those who have made so many contributions to humanity, including inventing the roots of 10 Olympic Sports. Their sport traditions that predate Atlantis have always included women who were also seen as role models for their children. Sport and dance knit together communities and families like mine, with joy.
DEVELOPING WOMEN’S FULL POTENTIAL IN AMERICA & WORLD
My Olympic mom Stevia Korzun Chaffee, and I brought sports to the 1st Women’s International Year in Mexico City in 1970, supported by the Empress of Iran Farah Diba (whom I skied with) and the Shah’s sister. We felt it was critical to include fun fitness in their Plan of Action, because it is key to developing one’s full potential as the men (and First Americans) have known all along. The 60 women who first broke into leadership positions of Corporate America and Politics had all been tomboys, athletes or dancers, like Gloria Steinem. And it was the Clan Mother of the Seneca (Iroquois) who adopted the women who became the Suffragettes. Gloria honors American Indian Women for being models of the freedoms and leadership that American Women enjoy today. (on www.snow-riders.org Shining Moments Index, Gloria’s intro to Chief Wilma Mankiller’s (Cherokee) “Everyday is a Good Day”) . That is why Corporate America is now spending billions on high risk sports, like skiing and Outward Bound, because they develop team building, confidence, and intuitive leadership skills to be more like, actually traditional Indians.
Thanks to the ceremonies of their Elders who have led snow ceremonies that have saved ski areas in 10 states, inspired by NVF’s Native Ski and Snowboard programs at 60 resorts, our snow sports, Winter Olympics and blessed quality life on Earth, have a better chance to joyfully go on!