Olympic Gold Medalists Evans, Louganis, Felix Named 2017 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshals - NBC Southern California

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Olympic Gold Medalists Evans, Louganis, Felix Named 2017 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshals

The three Olympians with a total of 14 gold medals will join the parade of floral floats Jan. 2 in Pasadena

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The wait for the announcement of the Rose Parade Grand Marshals is over. Janet Evans, Greg Louganis, and Allyson Felix, all Olympians, have been honored with the title for the legendary Pasadena parade.Ted Chen reports for the NBC4 News on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016. (Published Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016)

    The 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade will have a touch of Olympic gold.

    Three Southern California Olympic gold medalists will be co-grand marshals when the floral float spectacle parades down Colorado Boulevard Jan. 2 in Pasadena. The most decorated woman in U.S. Olympic track and field history, Allyson Felix, will join two four-time gold medalist -- Olympic diver Greg Louganis and swimmer Janet Evans -- as the parade's grand marshals.

    Felix was 18 when she won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. She went on to claim nine more medals, including six golds, after competing in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

    The 30-year-old Felix, a member of President Barack Obama's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, graduated from USC with a degree in elementary education. She is the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals.

    Three Olympians to Serve as Rose Parade Grand Marshals

    [LA] Three Olympians to Serve as Rose Parade Grand Marshals
    Olympic gold medalists Allyson Felix, Greg Louganis and Janet Evans share their thoughts on what it means to be named grand marshals for the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade.
    (Published Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016)

    "I'm so, so honored, and so grateful," Felix said at Thursday's announcement in Pasadena.

    Louganis, born in El Cajon, won gold at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in diving. The 56-year-old is the only man to win gold on both the 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform in consecutive Olympics. 

    "The Rose Parade is such an incredible family tradition," said Louganis. "We grew up with it."

    Louganis also mentioned, with a laugh, the dive that made history for all the wrong reasons. 

    Louganis struck his head on the end of a diving board during a reverse somersault at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He received several stitches in his head before returning to nail a dive on his way to gold.

    "Everybody remembers me hitting my head, right? I told my coach, that's all anybody's going to remember," Louganis said. "But you know what, we came back, we won, so I wasn't the agony of defeat.

    "If you don't go through a few clouds and find yourself in turbulance, you're not reaching high enough."

    Evans, of Placentia, won a total of four gold medals in swimming at the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. The USC graduate also was a world champion and world record holder.

    Her 400-meter record stood for 18 years until it was broken in 2006. Evans, 45, also won the 1989 Sullivan Award as America's top amateur athlete.

    "I think it's very fitting that I can be here with one of my heroes when I was a young child," said Evans. "When Greg Louganis competed here at the 84 Games, I was inspired by Greg, and I was inspired by all of the other athletes here in 1984. They were my echoes of success."

    The theme of the 2017 parade is "Echoes of Success."

    Last year's grand marshal was documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Past grand marshals include singer Frank Sinatra (1980), entertainer Bob Hope (1969), Walt Disney (1966) and Dodgers announcer Vin Scully (2014), astronauts, actors and other celebrities.

    Two other Olympians, track and field star Carl Lewis and gymnast Shannon Miller, have served as grand marshals. 

    Click here for a full list or parade grand marshals. 

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