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Issue Date: Nov/ Dec 2009
Winter Sports Issue, Posted On: 11/4/2009

Todd Paul, Mary Jo Slikas and Jon & Mike Ramos
Athletes of the Month:
Todd Paul

Chicago resident Todd Paul may be the only person in the world unable to complete a kick turn in the pool, but able to claim that he successfully swam across the English Channel.

After stepping into the pool for lessons only a handful of times, Paul set his sights on a lofty swim goal. "Last September I was looking for a big goal, that's just the way I work," says Paul. "I shoot for he moon."

With just a little over a year of training, Paul successfully crossed the English Channel landing on the French coast in a time of 18 hours and 35 minutes. "The worst part of the crossing was the hypothermia. It felt like I was on a drug just cruising," says Paul. "I didn'r realize that I was finished until my hand hit the beach. I literally swam onto the beach."

Mary Jo Slikas

MJ Slikas is an Ironwoman. The Orland Park triathlete just competed in the 2009 Ford Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Her time of 12:33:57 comes on the heels of her 10:46:48 World Championship qualifying time at Ironman Louisville.

Her performance at Ironman Louisville snagged Slikas her first Ironman podium spot. Slikas stood atop her age group (F40-44) at the event. "I started coming in back to where all the spectators were gathered and I could now hear the crowd," says Slikas. "I was checking my watch and blinking because I was sure I was seeing things. Could I really be finishing this thing in under 11 hours?"

In addition to being an amazing endurance athlete, Slikas is also a committed blogger and her racing and training regiment are recounted in her truly fantastic triathlon blog: mjtheironman.blogspot.com.
Kid Athlete of the Month:
Jon and Mike Ramos
Brothers Jon and Mike Ramos (New Lenox, IL), motivate each other in several sports.  Jon, a sixth grader at Caroline Bentley School and Mike, an eight grader at Martino Junior High, are both state qualifiers in swimming. Mike qualified for his school's track conference finals. They play football, like paintball and love books (Jon likes sport books and Mike enjoys history books about war).   

When Jon decided that one day he would like to race an Ironman triathlon, Mike was quick to follow. They called their older triathlete cousin, Ted Ramos for help with transitions and cycling. At the Tri-Masters South Shore Triathlon, their hard work paid off. Mike finished third and Jon was fourth in the 11-14 division.  

When they grow up, Jon hopes to be a professional football player and Mike plans to be a professional skate boarder.

  • Damon King & Marisa Hird
  • Peter Mone & Hailey Krzyston
  • Ryan Giuliano & Allie Walters
  • James Akita & Jennifer Garrison
  • Emil Bojanov & Laura Batterink

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