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Olympics '96: Homecoming rally
With a slight breeze blowing in his face as he peered through the sun roof
of a limousine, Olympic gold medalist Rod White returned to his hometown
of Hermitage Sunday afternoon to a hero's welcome.
More than 1,000 well-wishers were on hand at the Wal-Mart parking lot to
honor Rod, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. Archery Team, and hundreds
more lined state Route 18 as he and an escort of nearly a dozen Hermitage
fire trucks and police cruisers _ with sirens and horns blaring _ made their
way from the Holiday Inn.
It's only appropriate, Hermitage city and school officials said, that Olympic
gold medalist Rod White's name be immortalized.
On Sunday, officials did just that.
A recreational area being built behind the Hermitage municipal buildings
and Pennsylvania National Guard Armory will be called Rodney White Olympic
Olympics '96: Event coverage
Olympic gold medalist Rod White.
The Hermitage archer better get used to those five words, because that's
exactly how many people will be addressing him for years to come.
The local youngster made Mercer County and American history Friday after
helping lead the U.S. Archery Team to a 251-249 victory over the favored
South Korean squad and a gold medal in the Summer Olympics' team competition
at Stone Mountain, Ga.
By Jeff Greenburg
Assistant Herald Sports Editor
IT HAS BEEN a long, winding road to capturing Olympic gold for Hermitage
archer Rod White.
That journey began nearly a decade ago with a miniature bow in his Easton
Road backyard, continued on to Gold-N-Grain Archery in Jefferson Township
and has since talent he 19-year-old to all corners of the world.
U.S. archer Rod White of Hermitage saw his hopes for an individual medal
die by one point Tuesday.
White, 19, who won his first-round match earlier in the day, lost in the
second match 159-158 to Belgium's Paul Vermeiren. Vermeiren hit a 10 on
his last arrow of the match.
Earlier White won 161-152 over Russia's Bayir Badenov in the first round.
That avenged his loss to Badenov in the title match at the 1993 World Junior
American archers, led by Justin Huish and Janet Dykman, trailed in the Olympic
ranking rounds Sunday, while South Koreans set one world record and tied
another in team preliminaries.
Ukraine's Lina Herasymenko shot the top individual score of 673 of a possible
720 in the women's round. Michele Frangilli of Italy led the men with 684.
Frangilli tied a world mark set by Hiroshi Yamamoto of Japan in 1990 with
344 from 70 meters.
Huish, of Simi Valley, Calif., had the top finish for the U.S. team with
a ninth in the men's event with 670.
Rod White, a 19-year-old from Hermitage, was 12th with 666 and Butch Johnson
of Woodstock, Conn., was 15th with 664.
OK, so you're Rodney White, 1996 United States
Olympic Archery Team member, one of the country's three best male archers,
and one of only three Mercer County area athletes ever to compete in the
Olympiad. Life must be pretty glamorous, right?
Olympics '96: Preview edition
``Not really ... it's more of a relief now that the Trials are over,'' White
With the pressure-packed Trials in Stone Mountain, Ga., San Diego and Texas
behind him, White, in the weeks leading up to the Atlanta Games, had more
mundane concerns. On a recent visit to the Gold 'n Grain Archery Club, a
casual observer would not realize that White soon would be representing
his country in the world's archery competition July 28-Aug. 4.
According to Farrell native Nick Costes, many of his Farrell High classmates
in the early 1940s used to think he was a bit crazy.
You see, Costes would run five miles at lunch time almost daily during school
hours. Nothing wrong with that, except Costes did it in street clothes and
then would return to class dripping from head-to-toe with dank, smelly sweat.
If only his classmates had known _ had known what would become of this diminutive,
youngster _ perhaps they would have looked upon his daily routine a bit
The community certainly did more than a decade later when Costes became
one of the nation's premier marathoners and garnered a spot on the U.S.
Olympic Team that competed in the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.
ALSO: Some Olympic memories of 1956 U.S. Olympic
marathoner and Farrell native Nick Costes
After a lapse of 1,500 years, the modern Olympic Games were revived in Athens,
Greece in 1896, and have been providing moments of glory ever since.
Only two Mercer County-area athletes have had what it takes to compete in
the modern Olympics.
Hermitage resident Rod White has increased that local participation number
by 33 percent this year by qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team in archery.
Before White, Mercer Countians made their mark in the most glorious and
historical of Olympic
competitions _ the marathon.
In 1956, Farrell's Nick Costes finished 20th in the marathon at the Melbourne,
Australia Summer Games.
Some 36 years before in 1920, Sharon-area runner Joe Organ became the first
local athlete to qualify for the Olympics and he finished an outstanding
seventh in the marathon at the Antwerp, Belgium Games.
Thirty years ago Sharon native Gaile Spadin decided to take a self-defense
course for all of the ``normal'' reasons women take such a class.
Now, at the age of 56, Spadin finds herself headed for Atlanta to officiate
the judo competition in the
summer Olympic games.
Her job might not be as glamorous compared to others surrounding the 1996
Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, but what Kelly Morrison Mikita does is
Mikita, who is married and resides in Sharon, is a volunteer recruiter and
the personal manager of security at the Olympic Stadium _ where the track
& field will take place. The key word here is volunteer.
Dr. Walter J. Krickich definitely has an eye for athletics.
The Hickory High School graduate, who has a private practice (eye care)
in Cartersville, Ga., was selected by the Atlanta Committee for the 1996
Sumer Olympic Games to be a member of the Olympic medical team.
Krickich will serve as chairman of the Olympic Vision Committee and work
at the Polyclinic at Georgia Tech University until Aug. 7.
The '96 Summer Olympics Games, in Atlanta are approaching quickly, and to
keep everything as safe as possible, there will be many medical volunteers
to help out. Volunteers from all over the world will be there, including
doctors originally from the the Shenango Valley.
Casting for volunteers was held last year because of the large number of
people. Dr. Theodore L. Yarboro Jr., who graduated from Hickory High School,
will be one of the medical doctors for the women's softball event.
It was a just a shot in the dark. A chance, or a reach at best _ or so she
thought. But it paid off in a very big way for Farrell High graduate Tammy
Thomas was appointed one of the trainers for the track and field at the
Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta this month.
Not bad for someone who sent in an application from a publication conerning
the Olympics and her field _ sports medicine _ with little hope of getting
A former Grove City man will live out his dream of being an Olympic trainer
this August in Atlanta, Ga. Darin Powell, a 1985 graduate of Grove City
High now living in Texarkana, Texas, is that man.
``I knew very early that education was going to be the key to my going to
the Olympics, so I concentrated on my education,'' Powell said.
Fame may be fleeting, but if everyone does, in fact, experience 15 minutes
of it during their lifetime, John Liptak is savoring the moment.
``It's a great opportunity for myself _ a once in a lifetime _ it's something
I just had to do,'' the Sharpsville native recently related via telephone.
The 38-year-old Liptak has served as communications manager for the Olympic
Torch Relay, a 15,000-mile, cross-country odessey from Los Angeles _ site
of the '84 summer Games _ to this year's venue, Atlanta.
It will sit in the trophy case with the other accomplishments Brian Beil
has accumulated. It will collect dust just like his other trophies and plaques.
It might even be forgotten every now and again.
But that's not likely.
On June 10 _ the night before his 15th birthday _ Beil carried the Olympic
torch from 9:20 to 9:24 p.m. in Erie as part of its 15,000-mile tour of
the United States before it officially starts the Olympic Games in Atlanta
Melinda Rhoads is one of Slippery Rock's best-kept secrets.
Rhoads is a former Olympian, having competed in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic
Games in team handball.
As a result of her former Olympian competitor status, Rhoads was invited
by the Olympic Committee to apply to carry the Olympic torch a portion of
its 15,000-mile voyage throughout the United States on its way
to Atlanta, Ga.
Walk down Main Street in any town except
his own, and he goes virtually unrecognized. His face doesn't stare down
from billboards, his voice doesn't hawk deodorant or diet plans. High schoolers
don't rush out to buy his footwear or his latest rap album.
But on any street in Teheran or Istanbul, he is greeted by crowds of the
admiring, the respectful, even the awe-struck. Thousands of miles from his
semi-rural Pennsylvania farmhouse, he is as applauded as Michael Jordan
or Ken Griffey Jr. are back home.
Funny how Bruce Baumgartner must go so far away to be recognized for what
he is, yet many Americans don't realize what they have right here at home:
One of the great Olympic athletes of all time.
A ghost will march beside Bruce Baumgartner when he leads the U.S. team
into the 1996
The spirit of the late Dave Schultz will remind Baumgartner, the most decorated
freestyle wrestler in U.S. history, of the glories of the sport they loved
_ and of what might have been.
Predicted medal winners in major Olympic sports as projected by The Associated
Many thought Robert Fabrey faced the
biggest challenge of his life years ago when, while working as a Brookfield
policeman, his lungs suffered permanent smoke damage while saving a prisoner
from a fire in a holding cell.
But he recently returned from what he says was the biggest challenge _ and
thrill _ of his life.
Fabrey and Garry F. Bonanno, the law enforcement liaison for Winner International,
trained the volunteer security forces for the Summer Olympics in ``Friendly
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Updated Aug. 12, 1996
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