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Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann talks about making healthy choices

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Sara McMann was the perfect choice to talk about eating healthy.

The Olympic silver medalist in women's freestyle wrestling delivered her message during the kickoff for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Iowa Department of Education's annual Summer Food Service Program.

The USDA's motto for this summer's program is "Eat Smart, Play Hard."

The 25-year-old McMann, a University of Iowa graduate student who trains in Iowa City, spoke to and took part in activities with kids on Wednesday, June 7, at the Pheasant Ridge Center in Iowa City.

The USDA Summer Food Program was created to ensure that children - infants to 18 years old - in lower-income areas could continue to receive nutritious meals during long school vacations when they don't have access to school breakfast and lunches.

McMann passed on her message of eating right to a group of 50 kids during the event.

"Before the Olympics, I didn't put anything bad into my body," McMann said. "It's like putting fuel into a car. You're going to put the right kind in so it will operate the best it can."

McMann is pursuing a doctorate in psychology at the University of Iowa, where she also trains with the Hawkeye wrestling team.

"Physical activity affects your mood and how you feel," she said. "When I'm feeling down, I think about how active I've been and what I've been eating."

Pheasant Ridge has provided free lunch to children in the summer the past 11 years. Around 100 children attend the Pheasant Ridge site each day.

This story includes information from articles in the Iowa City Press-Citizen and Cedar Rapids Gazette.

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