As we watched some of the Summer Olympics last week, we at one point were struck by the incredible reach of the suburbs.
Truly, these communities we call the suburbs make up a land of genuine opportunity. In all walks of life, you can go from here to literally anywhere in the world. And many, many people do. We frequently chronicle them on our pages. Remarkable success stories in Hollywood, in business, in science, in religion, in politics, in just about anything.
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And of course, as the Olympic Games of 2012 that conclude today have demonstrated again, in sports.
Just think for a moment of the suburban athletes who tested themselves in London:
Conor Dwyer of Winnetka won a gold medal swimming on the U.S. men's relay team. Matt Grevers of Lake Forest won two gold medals and a silver in swimming. Amy LePeilbet of Crystal Lake won a gold as a member of the U.S. women's soccer team. Melissa Seidemann won a gold as a member of the U.S. women's water polo team. Tamika Catchings, a one-time Buffalo Grove resident, and Candace Parker, a native of Naperville, won gold as members of the U.S. women's basketball team as did Chicago Sky players Swin Cash and Sylvia Fowles.
Also competing in the Olympics from the suburbs were Carolena Carstens of Glen Ellyn competing for Panama in taekwondo, Evan Jager of Algonquin in the steeplechase, Christine Loukas of Riverwoods in women's diving, Richard Oruche of Bensenville as a member of the Nigerian men's basketball team, Sean Rooney of Wheaton in men's volleyball, Jillian Schwartz of Lake Forest as a pole vaulter representing Israel, and Sarah Zelenka of Itasca in women's pair rowing.
What remarkable success stories they all are.
Those of us in the suburbs cherish our sense of community and for the most part, we live small-town values, but we are not provincial. Our ambitions are not, and neither is the stage that we call home.
Think again for a moment, this time of the international dramas played out this August and September within a 6.5-mile radius of Busse Woods here in the suburbs.
Last weekend, the seventh annual Alexian Brothers Tour of Elk Grove brought elite cyclists from all over the world to one of only five events in the United States to earn the highest racing designation from the world governing body for sports cycling, Union Cycliste Internationale.
Next weekend, the 30th running of the majestic Arlington Million takes place at Arlington Park, a grand horse racing tradition that draws fans, horses, owners and jockeys from around the globe to our suburbs.
And next month, the Medinah Country Club hosts the legendary Ryder Cup, the biennial competition between the top professional golfers of the United States and Europe.
As residents of the suburbs, the global accomplishments give us a lot to be proud of. And a lot to be thankful for.