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Quinn proclaims Friday "Illinois Olympian Day"

Quinn honors the 22 Olympic athletes from Illinois on Friday.

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Quinn proclaims Friday "Illinois Olympian Day"

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn honors Olympic athletes from Illinois by declaring Friday “Illinois Olympian Day.”

Michael Hechinger

Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed Friday, August 24th as “Illinois Olympian Day.”

Quinn met with Olympic athletes from Illinois at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. He praised the athletes for their hard work and dedication.

There were 22 athletes from Illinois who attended the London games. Of those 22, four were on hand Friday: Anna Li, gymnastics; Christina Loukas, diving; Bob Willis, windsurfing; and Conor Dwyer, swimming.

Dwyer won a gold medal in the men’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay. He swam on a relay team with fellow Olympians Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Ricky Berens.

Dwyer took the opportunity to express thanks for the support he received on his road to the Olympics.

“I couldn’t ask to grow up in a better city. The support around Chicago was unbelievable,” Dwyer said.

Governor Quinn, who attended Fenwick High School in Oak Park, pointed out that Dwyer attended Loyola Academy in the northern suburbs.

“Next to Fenwick High School, it’s one of the best high schools in the Catholic League,” Quinn said.

But Dwyer had a different opinion.

“Yeah, those comments are just outrageous. Everybody knows Loyola dominates the Catholic League, education and athletics,” Dwyer responded.

Christina Loukas participated in both the 2012 Olympic games in London and the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. She talked about her experience at the opening ceremonies.

“Being in diving, it’s a very individual sport, but when you walk out to opening ceremonies, you’re with the whole team,” Loukas said. “And right before we walk out, everybody starts chanting ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ and it just gives you chills. You feel that unity.”

Quinn presented each Olympian with a copy of the proclamation, which Quinn said contained the Olympic motto.

“The Olympic creed says the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight. The essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well,” Quinn said.

That prompted one reporter to ask if that message could be applied to Illinois pension reform.

“You didn’t listen to the original proclamation,” Quinn said. “It isn’t whether you succeed, it’s how well you fight, and we’re still fighting for that...We have fought well. We are still fighting, and we will succeed because this is imperative for our state to be a better place.”

Quinn then turned to the athletes.

“We have to do what’s called pension reform,” Quinn explained, eliciting laughs from the crowd.

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