Corsicana Daily Sun from Corsicana, Texas on July 16, 1972 · Page 36
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Corsicana Daily Sun from Corsicana, Texas · Page 36

Corsicana, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, July 16, 1972
Page 36
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ne W andjresh ^pnna ilself Bonnie Mills, an SMU Mustangs, set a gruelling training pace in his quest for a backstroke swimming berth on the V. S. team and a return to the Oltjmpics. (Continued from page 7) entation cannot b duplicated anywhere else in athletics.” Yet Baker remembers best some priceless Olympic moments with foreign rivals. “Where else,” he asks, “could you get Russian and Hungarian athletes sitting together on a bus—at the height of the Hungarian Revolution? Or two Czechoslovakians asking nu' al>out training methods? “One spoke German, and my \\ife spoke some, so we had a wild, 4-way translation going,” Baker says. “The Germans on the bus cracked up over the way we fractured their language.” hese pics- incidents ARE the Olym- —but the public seldom hears about them. The Olympics is more than just athletic competition It is a souvenir-trading session, wim a Russian athlete laughingly imploring Earl Young to “give me New York—me give you Moscow.” It is SMU trainer Eddie Lane at Mexico City in 1968, conversing amiably all night with a Soviet Union counterpart—aided by six bottles of Russian wine. The Olympics is behind-the-scenes drama, as it was in 1968 for Smitty Duke when he saw lightning strike one of a horde of Nlexicans who were waiting patiently in a driving rain to get athletes’ autographs. “A U.S. trainer—I never even knew his name—came out of nowhere and saved the man’s life,” Duke recalls. The Olympics can provide irony, too, as it did for Fort Worth music store partner Earle Meadows in 1936. Meadows established an Olympic record of 14-3V 4 in winning the pole vault in Hitler’s Berlin. “They crowned me with olive leaves,” Meadows says, “and gave each of us a little oak tree ‘to cement everlasting friendship.’ Mine died on th way home ’—foreshadowing U.S.- German relations. The Olympics the public sees is performance. But it takes an inner fire to produce those efforts, and even Olympic medal winners find that the only way to cool the flame is via another trip to the Games. Ronnie Mills of SMU is typical of the Texans feeling that heat which flares once every four years. Despit(> a disappointing senior year, he is setting a gruelling training pace in his C[uest for another backstroke swimming berth. “(ioing back to the Olympics has always been on my mind,” Mills vows. “1 want to really experience it —the first time was like a dream.” Mills’ first day back at sch(wl at Fort W^orth Arlington Heights after winning his bronze medal in 1968 dill little to dispel that dream feeling. “The whole student body was out front,” he recalls. “Television cameras were everywhere, the band was playing . . . they even carried me on their shoulders. And I couldn’t even believe I’d been in the Olympics!” All other motivation aside, Olympic veterans inevitably seize one vital inspiration for their return attempts. As Mills notes fervently: “When I stood on the victory platform at Mexico City, it was the first time I felt I had REALLY accomplished something.” Every former Olympian has a mental “instant replay” of those moments, good and bad, and the nostalgia lasts a lifetime. As one Texas Olympian says, “You’ve waited and w'orked, and you finally arrive. The Olympic Games and their memories are like the exhilaration after a long trip. On August 26, those Texas veterans will begin retracing the ultimate athletic path—with Olympic zeal. 8 the TEXAS STAR ★ July 16, 1972

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