As the 2012 London Olympic Games were winding down, BMW’s Drive for Team USA made one of its last stops at Laurel BMW of Westmont on August 9, 2012. As part of the national campaign, for every test drive, BMW NA plans to donate $10 to Team USA, up to $200,000. Funds raised benefit the training and performance goals of Team USA athletes.

The test drive event travelled across the U.S. to 276 BMW centers with a fleet of nine vehicles – six carrying the Team USA logo and three competitor cars, the Lexus IS 250, Mercedes-Benz C250, and Audi A4 2.0 – all to be measured against the full lineup of BMWs. Jean Trnka, a loyal customer of Laurel BMW since 1999, stated, “I’m a BMW nut, but wanted to test drive the Audi A4, because a friend of mine has one. I’m glad I did – doing so reaffirmed my commitment to BMW.”

Gold Medal Olympian and event cohost, Ben Peterson remarked, “You’re the winner today,” placing his gold medal around the neck of a young girl, who accompanied her mom and sister to test drive the 328i xDrive. Afterwards, he signed posters for her entire family and took photos with them. Peterson, an American wrestler, was a gold medalist at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and silver medalist at the Montreal Olympics in 1976. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Camp of Champs – a wrestling camp in Wisconsin.

Peterson was a big hit with both kids and adults at the event passionately telling stories about his wrestling background and Olympic past. He said, “I’ve enjoyed coming out to these events, where I can meet new friends and talk about my own competitive experience. It’s a great opportunity for me to use examples from my own life to inspire others.” As Peterson autographed pictures for fans, he wrote “Always seek the best, right, and good.”

Peterson further mentioned the difficulty of raising funds when he made the Olympic Team over 40 years ago, saying, “We had to raise money ourselves accepting donations and goodwill from neighbors and churches. BMW’s involvement in the Olympics makes a huge difference in the quality of training for athletes. I applaud them for their effort.”

Pat Womack, General Manager, Laurel BMW of Westmont, commented, “Our customers wait in anticipation for programs like BMW’s Drive for Team USA. In this case, they’re able to meet an inspirational, gold medal Olympian, test drive new BMWs like the 328i xDrive and X1 SAV, and take advantage of exclusive offers. It’s a positive event that also makes for good business as we head toward a three month sprint to year’s end.”

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[Photos: McKay Photography]