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THI Partners with Olympic Runner Leo Manzano as Ambassador for Heart Health  

Unique athlete joins U.S. Olympic team in quest for gold and
Texas Heart Institute team on mission for healthy hearts

HOUSTON, TEXAS (July 11, 2012) – The Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) announced today a partnership with Olympic runner Leo Manzano, who will serve as a THI "Ambassador" to help promote heart health and to raise awareness of the devastating effects of cardiovascular disease.

Leo Manzano, 2012 U.S. Olympic Team - photo courtesy Holly Reed PhotographyManzano, the 5' 5" former University of Texas track and field star, recently qualified for his second U.S. Olympic team with a come-from-behind first place win in the U.S. Olympic Trials 1,500 meter race.

As a THI Ambassador, Manzano will work with THI doctors and staff to customize health and fitness messages for key audiences, including tips for children and bilingual outreach in both English and Spanish. Cardiovascular disease affects more men, women and children in the U.S. than any other disease and education and lifestyle choices are keys to prevention.

"We're so proud to have Leo on the U.S. Olympic Team again and also on our THI team," said Dr. James T. Willerson, THI's president and medical director. "He's a unique athlete with a strong heart and unusual aerobic capacity, but he knows that there are many small things almost everyone can do to protect their own heart health and we're glad to have him help put the spotlight on heart-healthy habits."

"I am excited and honored to be part of the THI team," said Leo Manzano. "I have a big heart, literally! My heart is the size of that of a 7-foot man. And, while I have been blessed with this tremendous gift, I want to help others strengthen their hearts and be healthy."

Manzano, who immigrated to Texas from Mexico when he was 4 years old, was a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team and is currently seeking gold at the Olympic Games in London..

To learn more about Leo Manzano and his quest for Olympic Gold and healthier hearts, visit and follow his journey at

For THI media inquiries please contact:
Director of Public Affairs
Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510  ♦

For THI and St. Luke's media profiles, see Public Affairs.

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