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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: June 5, 2012

Apex fifth-grader Sydney McCoy has earned a free trip to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, thanks to her family's healthy eating habits. The Baucom Elementary and her dad, Dave, are one of only 10 child/parent teams from across the U.S. recently named finalists in McDonald's Happy Meal Chefs Contest.

The contest, open to parents and guardians with kids ages 8 to 11, solicited inspiring stories from families who enjoy cooking with wholesome ingredients at family mealtime. Launched as part of McDonald's new Happy Meal campaign, the competition aims make nutrition fun for kids. McCoy and her father entered by answering a brief questionnaire and submitting a short video online that creatively showcased their family mealtime. On Saturday, Sydney's family and friends gathered at Kelly Road Park in Apex to surprise her with the news. Sydney wasn't expecting to win, as you'll hear in this video clip, but she's no stranger to the spotlight.

Although only 11 years old, Sydney has already won 83 ribbons at the North Carolina State Fair for skills that include cooking, sewing and painting, and a video cooking demo she submitted got her filmed on the Rachael Ray show, in New York in mid-January. That show is scheduled to air on ABC at 10 a.m., July 27. Sydney also started a show on YouTube called "At Home with Sydney," designed to teach kids how to cook, make crafts and "learn to do things around the house." Her first segment covered "How to Pack a Healthy School Lunch."

So what's in store for Sydney at the Olympics? She'll take part in McDonald's Global Champions of Play program in London where she will join kids from around the world to play and celebrate healthy eating. Besides attending the sporting events, she'll participate in cooking activities that promote balanced eating and have the exclusive privilege of playing with athletes at the Olympic venues.

The Happy Meal Chefs Contest was judged by experts in food, nutrition and physical activity including five-time U.S. Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres.

"After reading Sydney's contest entry, I was very impressed by her passion and enthusiasm for healthy cooking," Torres said in a statement. "I was also interested to read that Sydney has started planning her first cook book for kids that not only includes recipes, step-by-step pictures and tips, but also activities that the whole family can do together to make meal time and family time more fun."

Article updated: 6/5/2012, 9:50 a.m., and 6/6/2012 at 9:15 a.m.


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