Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
LDS Wrestling Olympian's Family One of Many Struggling to Get to Sydney
AFTON, WYOMING -- After years of nurturing and encouraging young
athletes, the families who sacrificed to make it all possible will
find that there are others who are willing to sacrifice for them.
Communities all across the nation have joined together in fund
raising efforts to help support the many families of sons and
daughters who will compete in the upcoming Sydney Australia Olympics.
LDS Olympic roman heavyweight wrestler Rulon Gardner, will attend the
Sydney, Australia games along with six of his brothers and sisters and some
of their husbands and wives. The family will stay at the mission home for
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia. "The
president of the mission told us he has three bedrooms we can occupy," said
his father, Reed Gardner.
The family sold a "milk can dinner" of potatoes, corn, cabbage, sausage,
ham and onions steamed in a 10-gallon milk can. They sold Rulon Gardner
T-shirts that Rulon was happy to autograph. "We're a small community.
There is not a lot of money floating around, but there is quite an effort to
help the family," Reed said.
Judy and Joe Kolat of Rices Landing, Pa. will be there along with Olympic
wrestler Cary Kolat and his wife, Erin. Judy Kolat, mother of Olympic
wrestler Cary said, "Then it's, 'Wow, now we've got to get there!'"
Parades, dinners, pictures, t-shirts and celebrations like Cary Kolat Day in
Rices Landing have made it possible for the family to attend along with
The Rev. John Capel Sr. of Brooksville, Florida, along with his wife, will
join the youngest of their 11 children in Sydney. Through the efforts of
Jim Kimbrough, chairman of Sun Trust Bank, Nature Coast, and others, a total
of $29,000 was raised and presented to the family. "They may take another
family member or two, but that's their call," Kimbrough said. "This is
their money to do whatever they want to with it."
Michael Johnson and Maurice Green dominated the 200 meter at the Olympic
trials. Both Johnson and Green pulled up lame during the race. Capel, who
prayed with his father before the final, won. Now his parents will make a
10-day trip to Australia too. "Without the help, we wouldn't be able to go.
No way," said Capel.
The AT&T U.S. Olympic Family Program will provide a hospitality center in
Sydney for athletes and their families. Travel packages are being offered
through the program with a 10-30% discount. There are free buffets,
big-screen TV's, and an Internet cafe with a calling center where each
family gets free local calls and 20 free global time minutes.
Mimi Ambrosi of Overland Park, Kansas and mother of Olympic softball
player Christie, said her friends raised about $1,000 for her trip. To
finance her stay for the entire Olympic trip she decided to sell her ranch
home. "There are 3.7 million girls that play softball and 15 made it and
mine was one of them. So it's pretty special," she said. "I sold my house
to go to Sydney," she said. "And I'd do it again tomorrow if I had to."
Generosity hits Olympic heights
USA Today 29Aug00 S2
By Gary Milhoces: USA TODAY
Donations send many moms, dads, spouses to Sydney