Fallon steps up, helps send Olympian's coach to Beijing

FALLON " Fundraising efforts for a Fallon athlete are still holding strong with about three weeks left until he competes the Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Aarik Wilson, a 2001 Fallon grad who won the U.S. Olympic Trials in the triple jump, leaves for China this week but could be without his coach, Wayne Pate. With Pate not being an official Olympic coach, he cannot receive financial assistance and travel with his athlete.

Enter the Wilson family.

For the past couple weeks, Kirsten Wilson, Aarik's mom, and Fallon Greenwave coach Paul Orong have been selling "Go for the Gold Aarik Wilson" T-shirts. The shirts have been selling each for $25, and two or more are $20 each.

The T-shirts arrived Tuesday at Shear It Tis, a hair salon operated by Aarik Wilson's sister, Tia. The salon is located at 65 S. Maine St. in Fallon.

Kirsten Wilson said about 250 shirts were ordered but added more will be on the way.

"The T-shirts just came in," Wilson said. "I'm not sure how long they're going to last. There was already a line of people getting them."

With the sold T-shirts and funding from the city of Fallon and numerous donators, Wilson said they raised enough money to purchase Pane's airfare.

"We've gotten enough money to buy his plane ticket," she said. "The city of Fallon donated $1,000, and we've had a lot of anonymous donations. It's going well so far. We've got him there and need to feed him and get him a place to stay."

Along with the T-shirt sales, Wilson said that an account was opened at the First Independent Bank in Fallon. Checks can also be made to Wilson's fund at 1020 W. Fifth St., Fallon, NV 89406 or at the bank.

Aarik Wilson leaves Friday and competes on Aug. 18, while his family plans to leave Aug. 15. Kirsten Wilson said that her son won't be able to stop in Fallon this week but will come back home after the Olympics.

"He can't make it home. He spent the last two weeks moving," Wilson said. "He's planning on coming back afterward for sure so we can have a party, and he can sign T-shirts. We're going to do something cool."

Wilson, who has been nursing a leg injury since the trials, appears to be in the running for a medal, his mother said Tuesday.

"A guy from Great Britain has the best mark and is the same exact one as Aarik got in London (earlier in the season)," she said. "The top five guys are only 12 centimeters apart. He's definitely a medal contender. You look at Oregon and never know. It's who's on and who's not."

For more information, contact Kirsten Wilson at (775) 287-6817 or Paul Orong at (775) 427-2664.

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