Van Wyck plans celebration for hometown Olympic runner

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By The Staff

VAN WYCK - To the world, Shawn Crawford is an Olympic medalist and the "Cheetah Man."

To the 800 residents of Van Wyck, Crawford is its most famous native son.

When this son gets home, Van Wyck is going to have some good times.

Van Wyck resident Betty Broome issued this statement for the community on July 14:

Shawn's mother, Sylvia, and (family friend) Marilyn Tims, will soon be on their way to Beijing to watch Shawn compete as they did in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

Their screams and cheers from the stands of the Olympic Stadium will be an echo of the screams and cheers to be heard around Van Wyck and beyond during those competitions.

Sylvia will be carrying with her a letter of congratulations and best wishes from the community and local officials to be given to Shawn when she meets him in Beijing.

Already, lettering in Crawford's honor hangs outside the community building. Van Wyck residents will decorate highway signs honoring Crawford with red, white, and blue ribbon.

The signs say Van Wyck is the home of 2004 gold and silver Olympic medalist Shawn Crawford.

Van Wyck residents also plan to put up a display at the community center with a life-size cut-out of Crawford, a replica of the Olympic torch and a 2004 Olympic flag obtained by postmaster Betty George. Someone is looking into having commemmorative T-shirts made.

When Crawford gets back from Beijing, the community will throw a celebration. They hope the celebration can be combined with the annual Celebrate Van Wyck festival on Sept. 6, but it all hinges on Crawford's return.

In the meantime, Van Wyck says it couldn't be prouder.

"The whole community of Van Wyck, SC, is proud of Shawn, the athlete and the gentleman," Broome's statement said.

For details, call Betty Broome at (803) 285-0558 or e-mail her at bettybroome@comporium.net.