DC “shadow representative” Mike Panetta realized US territories could have their own Olympic teams in 2004 when he saw Puerto Rico beat the United States in basketball. For the 2006 Torino winter games he helped field a DC curling team, which, although it didn’t compete in Italy, did land a sponsorship from Labatt Breweries.
For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Panetta and his medal wannabes are organizing a race-walking team.
The International Olympic Committee does not recognize the DC Olympic Committee (DCOC), nor has the DCOC officially petitioned to compete. But more than 10,000 people filled out the “Join the DCOC Team” form online at Dcolympicteam.org.
“We knew we were being silly,” says Panetta. “It was just a bunch of guys in their thirties who said, ‘Yeah, we’re an Olympic team, too.’ ”