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Olympics '96: Homecoming rally

WELCOME HOME, ROD; Olympian gets golden homecoming (rally crowd)

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.

Rec area named Rodney White Olympic Park

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 Park.

Olympics '96: Event coverage

RED, WHITE AND GOLD; Lifelong dream is reality for local archer

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.

Eye on You: Rod White proves to be as good as gold

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.

Rod White ousted in individual; awaits team

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 Championships.

White in 12th, easily qualifies for next round

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.

Olympics '96: Preview edition

Rodney White sets sights on gold; Hermitage athlete heads archery team

White 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?

``Not really ... it's more of a relief now that the Trials are over,'' White recently related.

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.

Farrell's Nick Costes was last local Olympian in '56

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, fleet-footed
youngster _ perhaps they would have looked upon his daily routine a bit differently.

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

Joe Organ led way for area in '20 Games

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.

Ex-Sharonite Spadin to officiate for judo

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.

Sharon woman is volunteer with security

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 equally important.

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. Krickich keeps close eye on athletes

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.

Dr. Yarboro works with women's softball

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.

Thomas to be a trainer for track and field

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.

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 reply.

Powell will work with athletes and fans

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.

Ex-Sharpsville man Liptak helped run the torch relay

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.

Grove City youth Brian Beil was nervous at torch run

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 Friday.

Ex-Olympian Rhoads had exciting time carrying flame

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.

Baumgartner rates as 1 of greatest U.S. Olympians ever

BaumgartnerWalk 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.

Cambridge Springs' Baumgartner to carry flag

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.

Projected medal winners

Predicted medal winners in major Olympic sports as projected by The Associated

Locals teach Olympic security units

Security patch 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 Force.''

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Updated Aug. 12, 1996
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