David Bruce: The Funniest People in Sports: 250 Anecdotes — Money, Mothers

Money

• Competitive figure skating can be expensive. In 1995, Rudy Galindo retired from competitive figure skating because he didn’t have enough money to pay for training. However, the 1996 United States Championships were being held in his hometown of San Jose, California, so he entered. Smart move. Despite being an underdog, he won the gold medal and became THE story of the championships. His victory led to a career as a professional figure skater and lots of money for training.

• Figure skater Gary Beacom once felt that judge Kathy Casey had given him an unfairly low score at a competition, so he publicly skated over to her and handed her a dollar the next time he skated. He was satisfied with the result of his “bribe” — she gave him a higher score than she had the first time. Mr. Beacom joked, “It does seem possible to bribe the judges, even in broad daylight.”

• Figure skater Rosalynn Sumners had a tendency to put on weight. When she was skating for Disney, her contract required her to be weighed each week, and if she was three pounds over a certain weight, Disney fined her $10. After a while, Ms. Sumners began to stand on the scales each week with a $10 bill in her hand.

• Being a competitive figure skater can be expensive. Until 1995, Michelle Kwan wore only used skates, partly because they were more comfortable and partly because they were cheaper. In fact, her father sold their house and moved his family in with Michelle’s grandparents so he could raise money for her training.

• Winning a championship in the modern Olympic Games means a great deal, and it meant a great deal in the ancient world. For example, for the rest of their lives ancient Olympic champions did not have to pay taxes!

Mothers

• When Carol Heiss was a little girl, her ice skating teacher urged her parents to hire a professional coach for her. However, coaching is expensive, and Mr. Heiss’ salary was enough only to support his family. Nevertheless, Mr. and Mrs. Heiss asked the teacher how good their daughter could be with the best coaching. The teacher replied, “We believe that if she studies hard, in ten years she can be the champion of the world.” Immediately, Mrs. Heiss began working at a part-time job. Carol did study hard, and Mrs. Heiss saw Carol win her first world championship. (Carol went on to win four more world championships.) Unfortunately, Mrs. Heiss died of cancer shortly before Carol won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. When the medal was given to Carol, she whispered, “It’s for you, Mother. I promised.”

• Tiger Woods’ mother, Kultida, wanted her son to grow up to be a good sportsman. She once made Tiger watch tennis brat John McEnroe on television. When Mr. McEnroe argued a call that an official had made, she told Tiger, “See that? Never that! I don’t like that. I will not have my reputation as a parent ruined by that.” At a golf tournament, Tiger hit a bad shot and angrily hit his golf bag with his club. His mother immediately reported him to the tournament director and demanded that he be penalized two strokes. When Tiger complained, she said, “Who made the bad shot? Whose fault? You want to hit something? Hit yourself in the head!”

• When world-class figure skater Tiffany Chin was eight years old, she received a gift from her mother — her very first pair of skates, which cost $1 at a garage sale. Tiffany was very happy to receive the slightly used skates, but of course, she didn’t look like a world-class figure skater her first time on the ice. Instead, she did what everyone does the first time they try to skate — she fell down. Later, of course, she improved dramatically. In 1985, she was the United States Ladies National Champion, and in 1985 and 1986, she was the World Bronze Medalist.

• In 1986, Lyn St. James was involved in a crash while racing in California at the Riverside International Raceway. Her car was bumped by another car, then her car sped out of control and several other cars hit it. As her car burst into flames, Ms. St. James crawled out, then walked to a telephone. The race was being televised, and she knew her mother would be worried about her, so she called immediately to say that she was all right.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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