May 18, 2006
TALLAHASSEE, Fla – The Florida Sports Foundation announced Florida State track and field’s Garrett Johnson (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Baptist Academy) and Jennifer Rodriguez, former Sunshine State Games participants who have gone on to bigger and better things in their chosen sports, have been selected to serve as Spokespersons for the 2006 Summer Games.
The 2006 Summer Games will be held June 15-18 in Miami-Dade County with over 7,000 of Florida’s finest amateur athletes expected to compete in 25 sports.
As spokespersons for the 27th Annual Summer Games, Johnson and Rodriguez will make selected appearances during the four days of competition, share stories of their Sunshine State Games experience in published articles, promote Sunshine State Games participation in the media and educate the public about the Games.
Johnson, 22, is a Tampa native and is a graduate student in the public administration program at Florida State University and a standout performer on the Track & Field team. He won Sunshine State Games gold medals in the discus and shot put between 1994 and 2000 in a variety of age groups.
Besides his athletic accomplishments at Florida State, he was one of only 32 college students from around the United States who where chosen for the 2006 Rhodes scholarship.
His track & field honors include being the 2006 NCAA Indoor Shot Put National Champion, a Two-time All-American (2005 and 2006: Indoor Shot put) and 2005 ESPN Academic All-American (second team). He holds three FSU records in shot put and discus and in 2005 earned the title of “Top shot putter in school history,” throwing 67 feet 0.75 inches at the USA Senior Track and Field Championships.
Johnson remembers his Sunshine State Games experience as, a fun event and a sport carnival. “The Sunshine State Games promote sport and a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “Sports harness power and are a great platform for Florida athletes. It is a great way to improve a community through sport.”
Rodriguez, 29, first honed her athletic skills at Florida’s Sunshine State Games, where she competed from 1983-1987 and 1990-1992. She has fond memories of her days as a medal-winning in-line roller speedskater.
Rodriguez said the Games provided her with valuable experience as an athlete that helped her on her present path. “In any competition, the more you participate, the more experience you gain,” Rodriguez said. “I believe my participation in the Games properly prepared me for my future athletic endeavors.”
Rodriguez parlayed her experience from the Sunshine State Games into a second place finish at the 1992 World Roller Figure Skating Championships and a World Championship at the 1993 In-Line Speedskating Championship. She learned to ice skate in just three months time in 1996 and made the US National team. Rodriguez, who competed in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics, has become one of America’s most decorated ice speedskaters, winning two bronze medals at the 2002 Olympic Games.
The 2006 Summer Games, an Olympic-style Sports Festival will be held June 15-18 in Miami-Dade County. An opportunity to register online and registration materials are currently available at www.flasports.com to enter one of 25 Sunshine State Games sports offered. Entry fees and registration deadlines vary by sport.
The 27th Annual Sunshine State Games are a program of the Florida Sports Foundation, the official sports promotion and development organization of the State of Florida and hosted by the Miami-Dade Sports Commission.