Residents of Washington Commons celebrated the Beijing Olympics in their own way Thursday, with a special lunch and visit from the mother of an athlete.
Cathy McManus, the adoptive mother of Reese Hoffa, joined the Evans retirement community Thursday and spoke about life with the 30-year-old athlete, who finished in seventh place in the Olympics shot put event.
"Reese made it very easy to be a mom," the Martinez resident said. "He was an exceptional young man."
McManus went on to describe Hoffa's early years. When he was adopted at age 4, there were four other children at home, McManus said, and she gave birth to one more child after Hoffa became part of the family.
As he was growing up, McManus said, Hoffa always ate healthy foods and exercised frequently.
"Once he got into track and field, he tried discus," she said. "He tried hammer, but shot put was his favorite. This was a thing he could control, and he's all about strength."
McManus said Hoffa, a Lakeside High School graduate, was somewhat disappointed about the recent outcome at the Beijing Olympics, but noted he was still an Olympian.
When asked about his future, McManus said they both are looking forward to the next Summer Olympics, in London in 2012.
"His mind-set is already ready for it," she said. "He's already discussing it. He's already started training in his own way."
Further into the future, she said, Hoffa would like to become involved in coaching.
After he made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno , however, McManus said he could make a good sports commentator.
Though she didn't accompany Hoffa to China during the Olympic Games, she would like to make the trip overseas in another four years.
"When 2012 comes, I hope to go to London and watch him (from) the stands," she said. "That would be so wonderful."
While residents listened to McManus, they feasted on Chinese cuisine that included shrimp stir fry, Chinese tea, rice candy and fortune cookies.
In addition, Washington Commons resident Margaret Schneider was honored for her gymnastic performances in the 1949 Teen Olympics, while Washington Commons Manager Jan Troy was recognized for her participation in the 1972 Junior Olympics, where she competed as a swimmer.
No matter where Hoffa finishes when competing, McManus is always proud of her son.
"Whether he medals or not, it doesn't matter to me," she said. "Reese has come through so much and gone so far in his lifetime. That pretty much takes care of it all."
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