Two things hit me this morning in thinking about the Olympics. One, and this is something I bet many of us take for granted, but I thought back to 2000, and how cool it was to watch Stacy Dragila train for a berth, and ultimately go and win the first ever Olympic women's pole vault gold medal. I mean seriously, that whole Olympics was a whirlwind, but one of the coolest things ever was actually holding an Olympic Gold Medal. I can tell you I never put it on....I don't have the right, but I've now held Stacy's gold medal, and Marvin Lewis' Super Bowl ring from the Ravens, and both are pretty neat. To think thought that she to this day can be seen helping out at ISU track meets is astonishing.
The other thought I had was to the 2007 Big Sky Conference Outdoor Championships at Holt Arena, also known among SIDs as the Lopez Lomong show. Lomong was untouchable, and since I was writing the men's story on the championships, and Lopez was the "Athlete of the Meet" for Northern Arizona's title winning team, I got about 15 minutes to talk with him afterwards, and he was just a very friendly guy, happy for his team, happy for himself, and he was a good interview. Afterwards I learned about his past....10 years in a Kenyan refugee camp, coming to America as one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan. Any fan coming to that meet could have met him....gotten an autograph, taken a picture...whatever. A few months back he earned his U.S. Citizenship, and about three hours ago, he led the United States of America into Beijing's Olympic Stadium as the flag bearer for the U.S., voted on by all the team captains. Just a tremendous heartwarming story, and Bengal fans had the opportunity to watch the kid run here for free, and many did.
I guess the moral here is while everyone wants to talk about how the kickers are doing, or ISU football, or basketball, or soccer, or the bigger, more fan-friendly, media friendly sports, fans need to get on board for the ISU track program. ISU and the Big Sky are the top-of-the-line in track and field. Obviously, some of the world's greatest athletes come out to Holt Arena for collegiate track meets, and they cost next to nothing...and sometimes they actually do cost nothing at all. Make sure you take your family to a track meet this year in Holt Arena (bring a $1 to park though) ... you will see tremendous athletes....and future Olympians, and maybe even another flagbearer.
Now, onto the links.
Speaking of Olympics.... Calgary hosted the 1988 Winter Games (Calgary by the way is one of the world's great cities....just an awesome place to be at), and Ryan Collingwood of the Blackfoot Morning News caught up with Shelley grad Alex Willson, a former LDS Missionary to Calgary who is walking on at ISU.
More Soccer...and More Scoring? Tim Flagstad has more about ISU's intra-squad scrimmage on Monday. When he mentions Annamarie Hoffstetter, remember she needs like three assists to become ISU's all-time career assist leader....as a junior.
At Least Kellis Had Us Fifth... The Cat-Griz Insider, a blog for the Billings Gazette, is doing a "9 teams in 9 days", and they have ISU at #8 in the league.
Buck-Up See, here is where you get some good inside information. Back in July of 1998, I wrote a press release announcing that ISU was going to charge for parking at all Holt Arena events. It was going to be faxed out at 3:00 pm. At 2:33 pm, Dr. Bowen's office called to say he was canceling the release. Well, nearly 10 years and two months later, the parking fee has been implemented, along with some other Holt fees. Hopefully I can find the old release....that would be funny to revisit.
Idaho State Sports Information