World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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Taking Cambodia to the Olympics

19/7/96

Amb. Quinn details the story of how Cambodia was poised to participate in its first summer Olympics in 1996. It would be a small number of competitors traveling to the games in Atlanta, but it was still a monumental occasion. During this time, Amb. Quinn’s family had come to stay with him. He tells of how his daughter befriended Hem Raksmey, the young Cambodian female swimmer while she trained. Amb. Quinn’s daughter and Raksmey swam together, until it was finally time for the Olympics. Since she was very inexperienced, Hem was one of the bottom swimmers in her event. As Amb. Quinn and his family watched her compete, she struggled to keep up with the other competitors. When the others all finished, Hem Raksmey was barely halfway. But as she made her final turn, those in attendance including the other swimmers all started cheering her on. Amb. Quinn notes how incredible and inspiring it was to see all these different people encouraging the lone Cambodian. He likens it to how the rest of the world was cheering on the small, struggling country of Cambodia in its first years. 

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.