Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Local L.A. Resident To Bear Olympic Torch
By Brian Carter, Staff Writer
Published July 5, 2012





Leslie Billinger will carry the torch in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.




Marina Del Rey resident, Leslie Billinger will soon get a chance to partake in an event few ever will in their lifetime. Billinger was selected by her peers to be an Olympic torchbearer at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Billnger will carry the torch on July 9th.



Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Billinger moved to Los Angeles with her family when she entered high school. She grew up in Long Beach, CA and eventually attended Xavier University in New Orleans, LA. After college, Billinger went to work for Coca-Cola (CC). She’s held many positions at CC in the past 18 years and currently is their Senior Shopper Marketing Manager, West.




“I work on programs and opportunities where we mine a lot of research about how shoppers are performing and what shoppers are looking for with our major customers,” said Billinger. 




Her role in these organizations and her commitment to workplace engagement brings Coca-Cola’s ‘Live Positively’ message to life in Los Angeles. She embodies living positively, but also demonstrates professionalism, inspiration, encouragement and kindness. 




Billinger actively volunteers in programs that give back to the youth of Los Angeles, in addition to working for CC. She is an advocate of the Boys & Girls Club of America’s (BGCA). Billinger believes in the mission of enabling all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. She enjoys dedicating her time to investing in the lives of children. 




“Through Coca-Cola, I was able to utilize a relationship with AEG,” said Billinger. “We try to do a lot of health, wellness and active living events at L.A. Live.




“So I was able to get support from Coca-Cola to develop basketball tournaments for all the 28 [BGCA] clubs in L.A. County.”




Billinger serves on the board of the Venice California BGCA and has worked on several committees. She is currently co-chairing their annual fundraising event, the Champion of Youth Gala on October 5th.




Leslie developed the Coca-Cola Live Positively basketball tournament.  The tournament hosts over 500 kids and 28 La County B&G clubs. “Coke has sponsored that for three years straight,” said Billinger. She has also worked with the Big Sister, “Each One, Teach One” mentorship program.




She has served on the Advisory Board of the Los Angeles Professional Women in Sports and Events (WISE), who recently honored her with their “Women of the Year Award.”   




All of these accomplishments and character are what inspired a co-worker, Catherine Castaneda to write the essay that prompted Billinger being selected as a torchbearer. Now she will be a part of a large group carrying the historic symbol to its destination in London.




“About two months ago, I found out I was selected and it was just surreal,” said Billinger. “Just to be apart of Olympic history—it’s overwhelming and it’s humbling.”




She looks forward to the opportunity to represent Coca Cola, Los Angeles and the U.S.A.  in carrying the Olympic Torch as it makes its way to the London 2012 Olympic Games.  




For more information on the torch’s progress and torchbearers, please visit www.london2012.com/torch-relay/





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