2016 Canoe/Kayak Pan American Championships Bring Improvements to Lake Lanier Olympic Park

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Georgia 811 sponsors event and assists with installation of butterfly garden

Jay Lawson - Lake Lanier CVB, Meghan Wade - Georgia 811, Doug Smith - Jackson EMC, Morgan House - manager for Lake Lanier Olympic Park, Craig Clark - Carroll Daniel Construction, Tom Johnson -  Grant Garden Group, James Watson - Assistant Manager for Lake Lanier Olympic Park Credit: Dave Simpson

Jay Lawson – Lake Lanier CVB, Meghan Wade – Georgia 811, Doug Smith – Jackson EMC, Morgan House – manager for Lake Lanier Olympic Park, Craig Clark – Carroll Daniel Construction, Tom Johnson – Grant Garden Group, James Watson – Assistant Manager for Lake Lanier Olympic Park Credit: Dave Simpson

LAKE LANIER – APRIL 2016 – Lake Lanier will get to re-live its Olympic heritage with the Pan American Championships May 19-22. The Pan Am is the final Olympic qualifier for the 2016 Games in Rio for sprint canoe and kayak. In preparation for the event, the Park is making improvements, including the March installation of a butterfly garden which will be dedicated to Bill and Kitty Fields during the Championships in May.

The Butterfly garden will be the new focal point as you enter the Plaza Side of the Park and is intended to give people a sense of “wow” and let them know that they have finally arrived at an Olympic Site. The garden will be named after Bill and Kitty Fields for their involvement in bringing the Olympics to Gainesville. Bill was an Olympic Gold Medalist in 1952 in Rowing. Kitty supported his efforts along the way and was an invaluable part of his success.

Said Park Manager Morgan House, “Bill and Kitty moved to what now is the Lake Lanier Olympic Park, and, unfortunately, Bill passed away before he ever got to see the Olympics in his back yard. Had it not been for him, this Park would not be here today.”

Georgia811 is the official sponsor of the Championships and was onsite along with Jackson EMC to insure there was no danger in digging for the plantings in the garden, demonstrating what Georgia811 can do to promote safety before you dig in your yard or business for a project.

“I’m very excited and honored to serve as spokesperson for the upcoming Championships,” said Georgia 811 spokesperson, Cliff Meidl, an Olympic kayaker who was injured by high voltage power shock. “This will be an exciting opportunity promoting safe digging practices to both homeowners and contractors at this historic Olympic site.  This spectacular event and competition will host athletes from all the Pan American Countries who are making their final efforts in capturing a chance to compete in this summer’s 2016 Rio Games.”

“Our spokesperson, Cliff Meidl, made his Olympic debut here at Lake Lanier in 1996, but he had to overcome major obstacles both mentally and physically after a horrendous construction site accident in which he jack hammered into three underground high voltage power lines in 1986. This is a very special and unique way for us to participate in this historic event and to promote the importance of Safe Digging.” Added Meghan Wade, director, Corporate Communications, Georgia 811. “Working with Morgan and his team at the Olympic Park is an honor.”

Just a short 45 minute drive from Atlanta, Lake Lanier is the ultimate water recreation destination as well. The park offers paddle boarding, fishing, swimming and other watersports. The Park’s boathouse is also available to rent for weddings, festivals and other events.

Whether sports-lovers prefer watching top athletes cut up the straightaway from the grandstands, or want to dive into the rich waters themselves, Lake Lanier Olympic Park is no longer just a piece of Georgia history, but instead an exciting part of the Peach State’s sporting future.

For more information, including captioned, credited, high-res images for download, please visit the Park’s Travel Media Press Room page.