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World champions Kristie Marano, Iris Smith promote sportsmanship in USOC poster and TV commercial

Michelle Thilges USA Wrestling

World champion wrestlers Kristie Marano and Iris Smith have been featured by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) in a new public education campaign about sportsmanship.

USOC has announced its theme for the second year of their National Olympic Education Program. This year's theme is "Real Athletes Are Good Sports" and focuses on sportsmanship among athletes of all levels, from kids to Olympians.

Marano, a 2000 and 2003 World champion, and Iris Smith, a 2005 World champion, are featured in a well-designed poster that commemorates what being a good sport is about, as well as a public service television commercial.

To preview the commercial and see the poster series, visit

The poster depicts Marano and Smith shaking hands, a tradition in wrestling. The USOC defines sportsmanship as conduct and attitude that demonstrate gracious behavior before, during, and after competition. The wrestling handshake is a great example of sportsmanship in action.

Marano and Smith both compete at the same weight class, 72 kg/ 158.5 lbs., and are competing for the spot on the Olympic team. Their sportsmanship allows them to compete hard against each other and remain friends throughout the wrestling season.

Both Marano and Smith agree sportsmanship is important in all sports, at every age level.

"This program is great," said Smith. "In women's wrestling we go out there on the mat and are tough. It is important to have good sportsmanship because once you step off the mat, these are life-long friends. Sportsmanship is a necessity in every sport."

Marano said it is important to stress sportsmanship at a young age.

"When kids learn sportsmanship, they show respect for themselves, their coaches and other teams," she said. "It is necessary for all generations to learn sportsmanship."

There are only a limited number of copies being printed of the posters. Smaller versions of the poster can be printed off the web site.

Hunter Kemper, a triathlon athlete, is also featured in a separate public service announcement.

Olympians and Paralympians involved with Athletes Advisory Council and Olympians Association filmed a video about sportsmanship to educate athletes and non-athletes alike on what sportsmanship is and why people should practice sportsmanship.

These athletes will also visit middle and high school students throughout the nation to speak about their history and experiences as athletes.

Last year's theme was the "Olympic Value of Fair Play," and it will continue to be used in the programs the USOC is putting on this year.
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