Olympic Flagbearer Carries Torch for Safety

Olympic Kayaker Cliff Meidl, who suffered a serious occupational accident when he was 20, is the national spokesperson for the Construction Safety Council's 2002 public service campaign.

Olympic kayaker Cliff Meidl, the national spokesperson for the Construction Safety Council''s 2002 safety public service campaign, is featured on a new 30 second television spot promoting the theme "Work Safe, Stay Healthy".

In 1986, when Meidl was 20, he was involved in a tragic construction accident in Hawthorne, California. While operating a jackhammer, he came into contact with an unmarked buried power line that sent approximately 30,000 volts through his body.

That powerful jolt was enough to kill several men, but somehow Meidl clung to life. "I guess I just had more to do in my life" he recalls.

Meidl suffered a total of three cardiac arrests and nearly lost his legs as a result of the accident. He endured a total of 15 surgeries in 15 months and spent more than three years on crutches while he worked toward rebuilding his life. His amazing recovery and rehabilitation from this accident has become a source of inspiration to fellow Olympians and millions of Americans with disabilities.

At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Meidl was selected by his fellow American Olympian teammates to lead the USA''s Olympic Team into the Opening Ceremonies.

"Selecting Cliff to deliver our vital safety message was a natural choice," says CSC Executive Director Tom Broderick.

Immediately following the Sydney Olympic Games in October of 2000, Broderick made arrangements for Meidl to deliver the keynote address to the 2001 Construction Safety Conference in Chicago. After Meidl received standing ovations before and after his remarks to the attendees and effectively interacted with a number of leading safety representatives, Broderick decided he had more plans for Meidl.

"Cliff doesn''t just talk about the need to be safe on the job site, his life is the most powerful statement that you can make about the need for our organization''s mission," explains Broderick. Meidl is excited about his new national platform in behalf of workplace and job site safety. "Since participating in the 2001 safety conference, I''ve been impressed by the commitment of the Construction Safety Council to making a difference in the lives of construction workers as well as the general public," he says, adding, "This spot will increase awareness of the vital role that safety plays in the workplace and on the job site and I''m thrilled with my new role in this national campaign."

Recently, Meidl received another Olympic honor when he served as a torchbearer in the Salt Lake City Olympic Torch Run. Meidl carried the Olympic torch across San Diego Bay from Chula Vista to Coronado in a rowing shell comprised of nine crew members.

For more information on this new CSC campaign, please contact the CSC at (800) 552-7744 or visit the CSC''s Web site at www.buildsafe.org. To learn more about Cliff Meidl, visit his new Web site at www.meidlinspire.com. To access a video clip, visit CSC''s Web site at www.buildsafe.org/Mainpages/pages/meidl/meidlinfo.htm.

By Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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