<span style="line-height: 1.5em;">While NBA star Jamal Crawford may have </span>been the one raising the 12 Flag<span style="line-height: 1.5em;"> prior to kickoff of Seattle's Week 3 win over the San Francisco 49ers, he wasn't the only athlete with ties to Washington state to be honored on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. </span>
During halftime of the Seahawks' eventual 37-18 victory, the team held a ceremony paying tribute to five Olympians who medaled at the recent Summer Games in Rio.
Among those recognized by the 69,010 12s in attendance were USA Rowing gold medal winner Kerry Simmonds, a 2011 University of Washington graduate who walked on to the school's rowing team; Travis Stevens, a Tacoma native and three-time Olympian who won a judo silver medal in the men's 81k division; Courtney Thompson, a Kentlake product and UW grad who was a member of USA Volleyball's bronze medal team; and Seattle Storm players Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart, part of USA Basketball's gold medal-winning squad.
“It’s a lot of fun," said Bird, a four-time Olympic medalist for USA Basketball. "We’re really thankful and happy to be here. It’s a beautiful day and something I’ve really enjoyed about being in Seattle is just how tight-knit all the sports teams are across the board. So anything to do to come out and support, we’re happy to do it.”
Added Thompson: “It’s pretty surreal, actually. I still pinch myself that I was fortunate enough to get to go to two Olympics, much less do cool stuff like this. I look up to these guys and Pete Carroll and love what they do, love how they are with the fans and everything. So this is really special.”
The on-field celebration served as part of the NFL's Play 60 campaign, which encourages kids to stay active and eat healthy.
“I know as a kid I was extremely active and I know what sports did for me," said Bird. "And it’s not even about the physical part of it, which obviously is very beneficial to stay healthy, to be active, but I think it helps develop confidence. Not just about being physically in shape, but also mentally it can help you in a lot of ways.”
Added Stewart: “I think it’s really important because that was us one day. When we were younger we were those kids, and to get them started early, to get their brains engaged in that type of thing, and that’s where you make your best friends.”
Stevens agreed that being involved in physical activity "means everything" for today's youth.
“Without sport in my life I don’t know what kind of path I would have gone down," he said. "So to be able to give back, see an organization as big as the NFL give back to the community, it means the world to me.”
During halftime of Week 3, the Seahawks honored 2016 Olympians with ties to Washington state, including Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart, Kerry Simmonds, Travis Stevens, and Courtney Thompson.