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Local man leads U.S. delegation at Olympics

July 24, 2008|By Jane Napier Neely

Charles Carter Lee, a longtime La Cañada resident and recently retired Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, has been named chef de mission for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) announced his appointment as this country’s delegation leader in May.

In an interview held at his La Cañada home, Judge Lee could hardly contain his excitement about the journey that will soon unfold for not only him but also for his Chinese-born wife Miranda and their three daughters, Alice, Dabney and Annie, who will also attend the games in Beijing.

“This is an amazing opportunity, not only for one lifetime, but ten thousand lifetimes,” Lee said. “I love my country and I’m deeply honored to have been selected to represent the United States at the Olympiad as the USOC’s chef de mission. It is a wonderful honor and a great privilege.”

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Lee said he will be marching onto the field with the United States athletes during the opening ceremonies, which he thinks will probably be one of the most amazing experiences ever. “I’ll make sure that I wave to all of you in La Cañada,” he said.

A soft-spoken and humble man, love of country runs deep within the very fiber of Judge Lee, who descends from the Carter and Lee families who emigrated from England to Colonial Virginia in the 1600s, leaving their political and military marks on what would become a new country.

In a press statement, USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said, “Judge Charles Lee will make an exceptional Chef de Mission. Judge Lee’s experience, stature and knowledge of both the Olympic movement and China is unparalleled. He will bring invaluable insight to our delegation.”

Lee said, “Being involved in these Olympic games is in a way coming full circle for me. In 1984 I was appointed by the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee to be an envoy to China. As it turns out, the ’84 Games was the first participation by what is now known as The People’s Republic of China. During that time I made many friends with not only China’s officials but also their athletes. I am now reconnecting with many of these people.”

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