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I have been watching the Olympics with awe at these young athletes especially Michael Phelps. However, I also have been thinking back to the many Olympics of my past and wondering what became of them after their games and what they are doing today in our grand years.
Of course, each of us have are own heroes. My favorite summer sports then—and now—are swimming, diving, gymnastics and track and field. You also can search the web for your own heroes.
Most of this information came from that mega grand site wikipedia.org. To access more information about each athlete, put your cursor on the name. Click and open in a new tab. If you want even more information put the name into your search engine such as google.
One of my first summer Olympic heroes was “Bob” Mathias, who won gold competing in decathlon in Helsinki, 1952.
Having also won gold in this event in the London 1948 Olympic, Mathias was the first to win an Olympic decathlon title back-to-back. He went on to a career in politics serving four terms in USA House of Representative from California. He died of cancer in 2006 at the age of 75.
My other hero from these year is diver Patricia (“Pat”) Joan McCormick. She won four gold medals in springboard and platform diving in the 1952 and 1956 Olympic, the first and only woman in the sport to achieve a “double-double”.
After the Olympics, McCormick did diving tours, was a swimsuit model, served on the Los Angeles 1984 Summer Olympics organizing committee and developed a children’s motivational program “Pat’s Champs”.
Her daughter Kelly , also a diver, achieved a silver metal in 1984 and a bronze in 1988, in 3m Springboard the only mother-daughter medal winning combination in the history of the Olympics.
Today McCormick lives in Florida, still actively promoting the sports for which she has been highly recognized.
The 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne was the debut of Australian Murray Rose, a six-time Olympic medalist (four gold, one silver, one bronze), and a one time world record holder in the 400, 800, and 1500-meter freestyle (long course).
After the Games, he moved to the USA where he worked in the film and television industry and managed a nutritional supplement company. Eventually, he returned to Australia. There he was deeply involved in helping disabled children. In 1983 Rose was named Australis’s greatest male Olympian. He died of leukemia this April, 2012, age 73.
The 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne was also the debut of Australian Dawn Fraser, who is the first of three Olympic swimmers, including Krisztina Egerszegi of Hungary and Michael Phelps of USA, to win individual gold medals for the same event at three successive Olympics (100 metres freestyle – 1956, 1960, 1964). Altogether, she holds eight Olympic medals including four gold and was the 100 metres freestyle record for 15 years from 1956 to 1972.
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After swimming and coaching, in 1988, she entered politics as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly until the seat was abolished in 1991. Among her many honors, Fraser was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1967 and appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1998. In 1998, she was voted Australia’s greatest female athlete in history followed in 1999 when the International Olympic Committee named her the World’s Greatest Living Female Water Sports Champion.
Known for her spirited personality, Dawn Fraser at age 75 is still well-involved in sport and in life.
Back to the TV—–and Michael Phelps