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AMERICAN MOSAIC - Foreign-born American Olympians / Question from Japan: Where Do Americans Go on Summer Vacation? / Music from Patti Scialfa's New Album - 2004-07-30

Broadcast: July 30, 2004


DOUG JOHNSON: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.

This is Doug Johnson. On our show this week:

Music from a new album by Patty Scialfa. A listener in Japan wants to know what Americans do on summer vacation. And, we begin with three Americans who know exactly what they will be doing next month in Athens.

Naturalized American Olympians

The Summer Olympic Games will be held in Athens from August thirteenth to the twenty-ninth. Ten thousand athletes from more than two hundred countries are expected to take part. Some of the athletes on the American team have competed before in the Olympics as citizens of other countries. Steve Ember tells us about three of them.

STEVE EMBER: The United States team is considered to have a good chance this year to win a medal in table tennis. One reason is thirty-five-year-old Gao Jun.

She won a silver medal in doubles competition when she represented China at the nineteen-ninety-two Olympics. After that, she moved to the United States. She became an American citizen. She has been a member of the United States National Team since nineteen-ninety-seven. She competed in the two-thousand Olympics in Sydney.

Last year, Gao Jun reached the quarterfinals of the singles competition at the world championships in table tennis. She became the first American to do so since nineteen-fifty-nine. Now she has been training in China to get ready for the Olympics in Greece.

Another foreign-born American athlete is swimmer Lenny Krayzelburg. He came to the United States with his family from the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Lenny Krayzelburg became an American citizen in nineteen-ninety-five. He won three gold medals in the Sydney Games in two-thousand.

Recently, he has suffered shoulder injuries. He can no longer compete in the two-hundred meter backstroke. But he will swim again for the United States Olympic team this year in the one-hundred meter race.

A third American athlete from another country is Colleen De Reuck. The forty-year-old runner was born in South Africa. Next month, she will become the oldest American woman to run an Olympic marathon.

Colleen De Reuck won the Berlin Marathon in nineteen-ninety-six as a runner for South Africa. She also competed for her home country at the Olympics in Barcelona, Atlanta and Sydney. Colleen De Reuck became an American citizen in two-thousand-two.

Summer Vacations

DOUG JOHNSON: Our VOA listener question this week comes from Chiba, Japan. Kimitoshi Hiraoka asks where Americans go on their summer vacations.

That is an interesting question. Reports tell us that Americans work more and vacation less than people in other major industrial countries. Still, millions of Americans do try to get away from home for a week or two in the summer months. Some might even have the time and money to spend longer on vacation.

For example, many retired Americans can be found driving around the United States in big recreational vehicles, known as R.V.'s. These serve as a home away from home. In fact, it might even be their only home as they see the country.

Some American families get in their car and drive to historic places like Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. There, they can experience what life was like for early Americans. If that is not exciting enough, also in Williamsburg is a water park and an amusement park with rides.

Other Americans visit national parks like Yellowstone or Yosemite out in the West. They want to spend time with nature. Or they take their vacation by a lake or the ocean. They might swim or fish. But many just want to sit and enjoy the feeling of doing nothing, except maybe read a book.

Some families fly to other countries on vacation. Or they go on a cruise ship and stop in different ports. Cruise ships are like floating cities.

But not everyone goes someplace special on vacation. This might be the only time for people to work on things like home improvement projects. And while they do that, they might think of all the fun their friends are having.

Patti Scialfa

Patti Scialfa [SKAL-fuh] is a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. She is also married to Bruce Springsteen. Since the nineteen-seventies, she has been a singer, songwriter and musician in her own right. Patti Scialfa has a new album of songs she wrote called “Twenty-Third Street Lullaby.” Shep O’Nealhas more.

SHEP O'NEAL: Patti Scialfa is from the state of New Jersey. During the nineteen-seventies, she performed with several bands in New York City. Her new album, “Twenty-Third Street Lullaby,” recalls the New York City area called Chelsea. This is where she got her start as a singer and songwriter. She says: “You come to the city and you have a chance to find out who you really are. You test yourself, find yourself and lose pieces of yourself.”

She tells about this in the song “Young in the City.”


Patti Scialfa’s new album includes songs about people from her past – such as a woman named Rose who served meals at an eating place.


Patti Scialfa says her new album is about acceptance and how you learn to think about the past in order to express who you are today. She plans to perform by herself for the first time. She will perform twenty concerts starting in September.

We leave you now with the title song from Patti Scialfa’s new album, “Twenty-Third Street Lullaby.”


DOUG JOHNSON: This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This program was written by Shelley Gollust and Nancy Steinbach. Paul Thompson was the producer. And our engineer was Jim Sleeman.