Something big to cheer about, for a change

Something big to cheer about, for a change
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Something big to cheer about, for a change

Suburban officials in Orland Park come out strong to cheer on local Olympic favorite Evita Griskenas who is one of a team of Americans who will compete in the Tokyo Olympics July 26 through August 8. Griskenas performs in the rhythmic gymnastic, a popular competition for audiences. Orland Park Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan, Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady, RTA Board member Liz Gorman, and Palos Heights Mayor Robert Straz joined in wishing Griskenas success in representing our region and the country

By Ray Hanania

Evita Griskenas is the American dream.

She’s a young woman from Orland Park who attended Sandburg High school and today is one of the leading members of the American Olympic team competing in the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year which will be held July 23 through August 8.

Griskenas is a powerful representative for the Southwest region of Chicagoland. And although Chicago may be faltering, the rest of the region needs to stand up and give her cheer and the “hometown” support she deserves and has earned.

She has been a hard worker, never giving up. And is one the world’s top Rhythmic Gymnasts, an athletic form of dance, ballet, and coordinated performance that is amazing to watch.

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O'Grady leads the cheers for Evita Griskenas, an Orland Park Resident, who will compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy of Orland Township

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady leads the cheers for Evita Griskenas, an Orland Park Resident, who will compete in the Tokyo Olympics. Photo courtesy of Orland Township

Griskenas started out loving to play with ribbons and turned it into one of the most remarkable Olympic performances you can watch. She is an Olympic ballerina in her performances with amazing agility and style.

Everyone in our region needs to put her on the front burner and cheer her on, not just individually but as communities and as governments.

I met Evita and her parents, Sigitas and Olga, in 2016 when she was competing to become a member of the US Olympic team. She was training every day, a strenuous grind that left no room for normal teenage fun, and came very close to making the team back then.

Griskenas appeared on WGN’s top morning radio show with host Steve Cochran and co-host Mary Sandburg Boyle that year. Cochran had a special program each week that showcased the achievements of young people called “Kid of the Week.”

Griskenas, whose parents come from Lithuania, graduated from Sandburg High school, one of the best high schools in the state of Illinois. She’s not the only Olympian the school has produced. Most recently it was Kendall Coyne, an Olympic skater who is now married to another Sandburg graduate and Super Bowl Champion Michael Schofield.

I reached out to our local elected officials from the Orland Park and Southwest Suburban region about Evita’s accomplishments. She’s one of our home-grown champions. Here’s what many who took the time to respond said:

Orland Park Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan said: “My sincerest congratulations to Orland Park resident and Carl Sandburg graduate Evita Griskenas for earning her spot on the US Rythmic Gymnastics Olympic Team!! What an amazing accomplishment! Best of luck in Tokyo 2020. All of Orland Park is behind you!! #D230proud #orlandparkproud.”

Olympian Rhythmic Gymnast Evita Griskenas courtesy of her Twitter Page

Olympian Rhythmic Gymnast Evita Griskenas courtesy of her Twitter Page

Former Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman: “We have so much great talent in the Orland Park and Southwest suburban region who need the support of our local communities. She makes us all proud and gives us more important reason to watch and enjoy the Olympics this summer. I’ll be cheering her on as I am sure everyone in our region will.”

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady: “Congratulations to Evita Griskenas who will be representing the USA in the Tokyo Olympics. The whole Orland Township community will be cheering her on to bring home the Gold Medal. #OrlandTownshipProud #GofortheGold .”

Palos Heights Mayor Robert Straz: “It is great that Evita continues the lineage of individuals from our area representing the United States to the world.”

Griskenas has a lot of supporters cheering her on along with the entire USA Olympic Team this summer.

WGN Weatherman Paul Konrad interviewed

Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez courtesy of Twitter

Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez courtesy of Twitter

Check out the interview my son Aaron Hanania did with WGN meteorologist Paul Konrad at www.AaronHanania.com. Konrad is funny and a great journalist, too, at a news station that is now tops in Chicagoland. He also did a podcast on Freddy’s Pizzaria, one of the best in the West suburbs. I’m trying to get him to take me to Manny’s Deli to do one there so I can enjoy it with Corned Beef, Latke and Motzah Ball Soup … Of all the members of the Chicago City Council, I am very impressed by the votes and outspokenness of 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez. He constantly puts the interests of his constituents, and all of Chicago’s residents, ahead of the political partisanship from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. Lightfoot has been very disrespectful to Lopez and thereby disrespectful to the 60,000 residents in his ward who voted for him. In fact, Lopez would be a great candidate for mayor, certainly a better one than Lightfoot … It was sad for me to learn that 55 of my 1971 classmates from Reavis High school have died. I attended four high schools including Bowen, Little Flower and Bogan. I can’t imagine what the real total is for me … Finally, my Yiddish father-in-law Jerry Resnick taught me an important lesson about Chicago sports. When we met, he asked me if I wanted to go to a “Khubz Game.” I asked him, “What the Kheck is a Khubz Game?” He told me it was a Yiddish word that means someone who promises everything but fails to deliver at the end of the season. Oy vezmir! …

(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at rghanania@gmail.com.)

 

 

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