Rally for Olympian Roach set for July 18

Supporters are hosting a community event Friday, July 18, in Sumner to send local Olympian competitor Melanie Roach to Beijing, China. The event will feature various booths, children and family activities, clowns, a bake sale and gymnastics.

With a 5-foot 1-inch, 117-pound frame, Roach, a weightlifter from Bonney Lake, earned the No. 1 overall ranking at the Olympic Trials in May, lifting 242 pounds. She departs July 25 for China, and will anchor a four-woman team in Beijing. Opening ceremonies will be held Aug. 8, and Roach will compete Aug. 10 in the 53kg (117 pound) class.

In addition to her passion for weightlifting, Roach also is a spokesperson for Autism Speaks, a national organization dedicated to raising autism awareness and working for a cure. Roach, a mother of three, has a son with autism.

Members throughout the local community have rallied around Roach, and they’re excited at the prospect of her placing in the Olympic finals.

“I just can’t believe all the support from the community. I just wish I could take everyone with me to Beijing,” said Roach, a former standout gymnast at Auburn High School. “This is such an honor to represent our community and raise autism awareness.”

The event will be held at Roach Gymnastics, 1627 45th St. E., in Sumner, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Hot dogs and fun events will be provided. Melanie will speak and be available to sign autographs.

Roach will also speak the following day at the annual Tacoma Autism Walk, 10 a.m., July 19, at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Roach has created a blog and will be submitting entries regularly during her Olympic experience. Her blog address is www.melanieroach.blogspot.com.

For current information and event coverage information please visit www.melanieroach.com.