Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Lend a Hand for 1996 Olympic Games

April 4, 1996

ATLANTA, April 4, 1996 — More than 500 returned Peace Corps volunteers will participate in the 1996 Olympic Games. Appearing at a news conference at the Southern International Press Center in Atlanta this morning, Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan and Elizabeth Degnan, Director of Language Services for The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games (ACOG), described the role the volunteers will play this summer.

"This is a natural relationship," said Gearan. "Returned Peace Corps volunteers offer foreign language skills and cultural understanding that makes them especially qualified to serve athletes and visitors from around the world."

More than 15,000 athletes, coaches and other officials from 197 countries are expected to come to Atlanta during the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Peace Corps volunteers will serve as tour guides, hosts at international housing villages, and language agents at various Olympic sporting events.

Cleo Blackburn, venue staffing manager for The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, commended the returned volunteers for their "stellar response" to the call to Olympic service, noting that hundreds of returned volunteers applied to ACOG to serve in various functions.

"The unique background of Peace Corps volunteers will undoubtedly enhance the services offered to ACOG's international guests during the 1996 Olympic Games," added Degnan.

Since 1961, more than 140,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers in 130 countries. They receive three months of intensive foreign language training prior to service, and then work for two years in local communities, where most enhance their skills by speaking the host country's native language.

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