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An Olympic request draws unexpected response for local girl

April 10, 2014

Kailey Shea, a fourth grader at Hamilton Elementary School, holds up the letter she received from the United States Olympic Committee responding to her request to include dance in the 2020 Olympic Games.

NORTH KINGSTOWN—North Kingstown resident Diane Shea was shocked when she received a letter in the mail this past February from the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), a response to her 10-year-old daughter’s request to have dance as an official sport in the upcoming Olympics. Now, Shea has praised the committee for giving a well-thought out answer to Kailey Shea’s hope that dance would somehow make a competition floor in the near future.

“When Kailey wrote to the committee, it was while the Olympics were in full force and I really didn’t think she was going to get a response,” said Shea. “She had asked them to write back but she didn’t put her address in the letter.”

“The only way they could have known her address to respond was to keep the envelope that had her return address on it,” she continued. “I think that speaks volumes that someone, who I’m sure was very busy, went out of their way took the time to answer a 10-year-old girl.”

Kailey, a fourth grade student at Hamilton Elementary School, dances at Dynamic Dance Academy in North Kingstown and, according to her mother, has developed an extreme passion for all varieties of the competition.

“She has always been persistent,” said Shea. “When she was five, she begged me to teach her how to do a cartwheel. I am cartwheel-challenged, so I couldn’t help but, instead of giving up, she went outside and didn’t come back in the house until she could do a cartwheel.”

Kailey took that passion to the people who had the greatest ability to bring dance into the 2020 Olympics; the United States Olympic Committee.

“I wrote to the Olympic Committee because I love dance and I think dancers train just as much if not more than other athletes,” said Kailey about her letter. “I would like to see Hip Hop, Lyrical, Ballet and Tap in the Olympics.”

“So many people tell me that dance isn’t a sport and that really frustrates me,” she continued. “It is a sport and should be respected.”

Shea noted that Kailey has also been encouraged by coaches and friends alike, urging her to express her feelings to the USOC. Her enthusiasm did not go unnoticed.

“Thank you for your letter to the United States Olympic Committee and for your concern regarding the inclusion of dance in our Olympic program,” wrote Paul Sandusky, chief of communications for the USOC. “We appreciate your passion and dedication to this sport—one that is undoubtedly shared by many fellow Americans.”

Unfortunately, Sandusky stated that because of other sports, such as squash and wrestling, dance would not be considered for the 2020 Olympics. Either way, Diane Shea is proud that her daughter, who presented the letter to her fourth grade class as well, took the initiative to seek inclusion for a competition which she holds dearly to her heart.

“No matter your age, you can always make a difference,” said Shea.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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