Palo Alto athlete playing in Russia during cultural exchange


Palo Alto resident Amanda Lovely certainly will have something interesting to write about when she returns to Archbishop Mitty in the fall. Lovely is among a group of approximately 20 high school players currently representing the United States on a basketball tour of Russia.

Lovely is joined on the tour by two of her teammates plus Mitty head coach Sue Phillips. The American team is playing a series of games against Russian teams in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The tour began July 6 and will continue through the 19th.

The 6-foot-1 Lovely, who'll be a senior this fall, averaged 8.5 points and 5.1 rebounds for the Monarchs during a 23-9 season in 2010-11.

The event is part of an ongoing exchange program sponsored by the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Commission, which was set up to identify areas of cooperation and pursue joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.

In addition to their schedule of games, the U.S. team also will participate in a number of cultural events during its two-week stay. This is the fifth such exchange under the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission.

While in Russia, the student participants will learn about Russian culture and take part in basketball clinics with local athletes. The visiting American participants will be hosted by the Russian Ministry of Sport, Tourism, and Youth Policy and the Russian Basketball Federation.

Since 2010, four groups of youth athletes have traveled between Russia and the United States, with a goal of enhancing people-to-people relations. During the initial exchange in May 2010, 24 young Russian basketball players visited the Washington, D.C. area, where they played basketball with President Obama. Since then, Russian swimmers and ice hockey players traveled to the United States, while American beach volleyball players traveled to Russia for a two-week sports exchange program.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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