The Fight for Mamo Wolde

In 1996 Bill Toomey, then Secretary-General of the World Olympians Association, represented Juan Antonio Samaranch in an IOC humanitarian intervention. Bill travelled to Ethiopia and together with Kip Keino, pled the case to free Mamo Wolde, the 1968 Marathon Gold Medalist and 10,000 meter silver medalist. Results of the intervention included agreements to provide improved healthcare and sanitation for the imprisoned Mamo Wolde. As of today, Wolde continues to be held in prison without benefit of normal legal rights. Details are found on several news websites:

ELECTRONIC MAIL&GUARDIAN Johannesburg, South Africa
New York Times: 1999 Report

Amnesty International information on Mamo Wolde
Gesture of 14 American athletes in 1996 DOWNLOAD PDF




The National Pentathlon

Working with the President's Council and The Coca Cola Company, Bill Toomey was instrumental in the creation of the National Pentathlon program. The National Pentathlon helped meet the need for a unified physical fitness development program stimulating healthy physical activity among the nation's youth. The program ran in the U.S. during the 1970's and was open to all young men and women, ages 12 through 18, regardless of their level of physical condition and skill level. Bill also launched the program in
Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

The National Pentathlon was an excellent test of motor fitness requiring speed, strength, agility, skill and endurance.



The Olympic Experience Program

Bill Toomey and Barry King started the Summer Motivational Olympic Program, which quickly became "The Olympic Experience: A Motivational Program for Youth". Bill chaired the program from 1980 to 1986. The program reached between 1,700 and 6,000 youths each year, in groups of 50.

The program was designed to inspire kids learn to compete, both athletically and professionally. The program focused on involving disadvantaged and troubled youths with former Olympic athletes who also grew up in poverty. The athletes shared both their athletic and non-athletic experiences in relations to setting goals and achieving them. For example, 11 non-athletic "drills" included preparing for job interviews. Part of each day was spent on the track field, aimed at building confidence and pride in performance. Guest speakers from non-athletic fields also visited the sessions.

More than 40 Olympic medalists delivered the motivational program to youngsters. Participating Olympians included Wilma Rudolph, Bob Mathias, Bob Beamon, Wyomia Tyus, Rod Milburn, Tommie Smith, Herman Frazier, Ralph Boston, Chandra Cheesborough, Robert Taylor, Kathy McMillan Ray and Ed Caruthers.

The Olympic Experience Program was funded jointly by the U.S. Department of Labor and local Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA) agencies.


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