Three Olympians Announced as 2017 Tournament of Roses of Grand Marshals

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Story, Photography & Video by BRANDON VILLALOVOS

4:55 am | November 4, 2016

Tournament of Roses President Brad Ratliff announced famed Olympians Janet Evans, Allyson Felix, and Greg Louganis as the 2017 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshals Thursday morning on the front lawn of the iconic Tournament House on South Orange Grove. The three Olympic legends and Southern California natives will ride in the 128th Rose Parade presented by Honda, themed “Echoes of Success” on Monday, January 2, 2017.

“We each have those individuals that have made an impact on our lives,” said Ratliff. “This year’s theme, ‘Echoes of Success’ is a salute to those individuals. The impact that our three Grand Marshals have had on so many, both through their achievements and voices, truly is representative of our theme. The values exhibited by our Olympians and the richness in their backgrounds has given so many others the support, encouragement and drive to succeed, and we want to celebrate all that they have given,” said Ratliff.

The 2017 Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme, “Echoes of Success,” tells the story of how our character has developed through the selfless contributions of others and celebrates their inspirational gifts. It is a celebration for those people, institutions and organizations that help in the success of others, according to a press release.

“I am beyond honored and I just can’t believe it,” said Grand Marshal Janet Evans.

Evans is a five-time Olympic medalist who has broken seven world records, she is widely considered to be the greatest female distance swimmer in history. She was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in 2004 and the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2001. In 1989, she was awarded the prestigious Sullivan Award as the United States’ top amateur athlete. Out of the pool, Janet has made a name for herself as a commercial spokesperson, author and a highly sought after motivational speaker.

“It’s so amazing to be the Grand Marshal with Allyson and with Greg who are two olympians I greatly admire. I grew up watching the Tournament of Roses Parade and I came to the Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Evans.

Evans’ most recent role as Vice Chairperson and Chair of the LA 2024 Bid Committee’s Athletes’ Commission and Director of Athlete Relations, she is responsible for promoting the candidacy of the Bid Committee and Los Angeles to host the Games, soliciting athletes’ involvement in the development and promotion of the bid and enhancing the athletes’ experience at the Games. Evans is a vital member of the Bid Committee which helps integrate the athletes’ perspective and personalities into the entire bid process.

Alyson Felix is a six Olympic Gold Medals and is now the most decorated female track & field Olympian in history, according to a press release.

“It’s an honor to be in such amazing company,” said Felix.

In 2003, Felix turned in an even more impressive performance when she competed in the Banamex Grand Prix in Mexico City’s Olympic Stadium and ran a blazing 22.11 second 200-meter race, which was a new world record in the under-20 category.

She emerged as the new American Female sprinter to watch and has never looked back winning three Gold Medals in the 2012 London Olympic Games and followed that up in 2016 with two more Gold Medals and another Silver Medal.

“It’s so special because especially with the theme this year celebrating ‘Echoes of Success, it’s all about celebrating the people that came before me and paving the way—making a difference in my life and now being able to give back and having the responsibility of being a role model,” said Felix.

Super Olympian Greg Louganis has won more titles than any person in U.S. history which include five Olympic medals, five World Championship titles and 47 national titles. Louganis won a Silver Medal at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, in platform diving, at the tender age of 16. Eight years later he became the first male diver to win double Gold in springboard and platform in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and again in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

His records remain unbroken.

“Being Grand Marshal of any parade is such a tremendous honor, but, I mean, to be Grand Marshal of the Rose Bowl Parade—that’s, like, huge,” said Louganis.

His 1995 autobiography, “Breaking the Surface”, spent five weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and his Emmy Nominated HBO documentary “Back on Board” tells the story of Greg’s life is a story that has inspired millions.

Louganis is also an author, actor, activist and humanitarian, clothing and jewelry designer and regularly speaks to the most significant organizations and companies in the world to share that story.

“I had the great fortune of being here and competing in the 1984 Olympic games and I was able to be a part of that magic and so we’re trying to bring that magic back in 2024 for the L.A. (Olympic) bid,” said Louganis.

All three Grand Marshals represent the Los Angeles 2024 Olympic and Paralympic bid committee working to bring the Games back to the City of Angels in 2024.

“On behalf of LA 2024, we’re thrilled that three of Southern California’s greatest Olympians will lead the world-famous Rose Parade and share our city’s Olympic passion with viewers across the globe,” said LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman.

“Every New Year, the Tournament of Roses celebrates Southern California’s innovation, creativity and excitement for the future; and LA 2024 will harness this optimistic Angeleno spirit to invite the world to ‘Follow the Sun’ to the City of Angels for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”