USOC mulls volunteer work in Japan

Kyodo

United States Olympic Committee Chairman Larry Probst said Friday that the USOC is considering encouraging American athletes to provide emotional support through volunteer work in the disaster-stricken areas in eastern Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Probst, who was in Tokyo to attend a signing ceremony for a new partnership with the Japanese Olympic Committee, mentioned former U.S. bobsledder Brock Kreitzburg, who plans to spend three months in northern Japan working on recovery efforts.

“Hopefully, we can encourage some of our well-known athletes to come here to Japan, meet with some young people and hopefully inspire them and provide some comfort, and at least provide some emotional support as the country continues to recover from that disaster,” Probst said at a news conference in Tokyo.

After the 9.0 magnitude quake and subsequent nuclear crisis, several international competitions were either postponed or called off altogether, but Probst said he encourages heads of international federations to visit Japan to allay any fears they might have.