Little Bits of History

Run for Office

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 29, 2012

TIME cover with "Alfalfa Bill" Murray

February 29, 1932: “Alfalfa Bill” Murray makes the cover of Time magazine. His full name was William Henry Davis Murray and he was born in 1869 in Texas. He left home at the age of twelve and worked on farms during the summer and went to school during the winters. He studied hard and graduated from College Hill Institute in 1889. He became a teacher and bookseller. He next grew interested in law and passed the Texas bar exam in 1895 and began to practice in Fort Worth, Texas. A few years later he moved to Oklahoma, still Indian Territory at the time.

He became interested in politics and got the nickname Alfalfa while working on a campaign for Palmer S. Moseley who was running for governor of Oklahoma Territory. He was a splendid orator and when the press commented on his speech, he was given the sobriquet and it stuck for the rest of his life. Murray was involved in the legal process of moving from territory to statehood for Oklahoma. When statehood was granted in 1907, Murray became the first Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He left the House after one term and did not seek re-election.

He next became the governor of Oklahoma winning the election with the largest majority of voters ever achieved in that state. He became the ninth governor of the state on January 12, 1931 amidst the Great Depression and the era of the Dust Bowl, both of which hit the Oklahoma region with a vengeance. He took office after his predecessor had racked up a huge deficit in an attempt to create jobs and provide welfare. There were mass foreclosures secondary to unemployment as well as a number of bank failures.

The State of Oklahoma was in crisis and the government was threatening to fail. Murray found a way to collect and administer taxes, licenses, and fees and to guard against tax evasion. He used the state’s National Guard to enforce these measures. He stated via Time, on this day, he would seek the Presidency, but lost his bid for the Democrat party nomination to Franklin D. Roosevelt. Murray remained governor of Oklahoma until 1935, calling out the National Guard on 47 occasions and enforcing martial law more than 30 times during his tenure. Friends said these events haunted him until his death in 1956 at the age of 86.

A dose of poison can do its work but once. A bad book can go on poisoning minds for generations.

But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money–booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
 – all from William H. Murray

Also on this day:

Hammerin’ Hank – In 1972, Hank Aaron signed with the Atlanta Braves for a record salary.
Leap Day – In 1584, the first Leap Day took place.
Child Labor Law – In 1916, a new minimum age for workers was passed in South Carolina.

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Betrayal

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 28, 2012

Explosion aboard USS Princeton

February 28, 1844: A pleasure cruise on the Potomac River turns to horror. The USS Princeton was the first warship of the US Navy with a steam engine driving the propeller. The ship was designed by John Ericsson, a Swedish-American inventor. Supervising construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard was Captain Robert F. Stockton who was key in getting political support for the new ship. The ship launched on September 5, 1843 and was commissioned on September 8 with Captain Stockton at the helm.

The engines were designed by Ericsson as were the collapsible funnel, an improved range-finder, and better recoil systems for the ship’s two guns. One gun, called “Oregon,” was also designed by Ericsson. Oregon was a 12-inch smooth bore muzzle loader. It was made of wrought iron and could fire a 225-pound shot five miles. It used a 50-pound charge. It was made using a “built-up construction” method, meaning it had hoops of iron around the breach end, making it able to withstand a greater charge.

The second gun, “Peacemaker,” was designed by Stockton. Based on Ericsson’s gun, but without the hoop build up, it used increased thickness at the breach to reinforce a known weakness in the gun. The Princeton arrived in Washington, D.C. on February 13, 1844. Three trial runs with passengers aboard and displaying the awesome firepower of the guns went smoothly. On this date, President John Tyler, his Cabinet, and ≈ 200 guests were aboard when the cruise turned disastrous. “Peacemaker” was fired without incident several times. On the last shot, the breach exploded and killed eight people, including US Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur and the Secretary of the Navy Thomas Gilmer, and injured 20 more.

Stockton, a man from an influential family and an officer in the Navy, immediately redirected the blame to Ericsson. Even though it was not Ericsson’s gun that had exploded, his name was tarnished and his relationship with the Navy suffered. Stockton, ever the politician, not only emerged unscathed, he went on to be promoted as high as Commodore before he retired. Ericsson, at the outbreak of the Civil War, went on to design a completely unique armored ship. The USS Monitor played a pivotal role in the war.

When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself. – Louis Nizer

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you place the blame. – Oscar Wilde

Blame someone else and get on with your life. – Alan Woods

Responsibility:  A detachable burden easily shifted to the shoulders of God, Fate, Fortune, Luck or one’s neighbor.  In the days of astrology it was customary to unload it upon a star. – Ambrose Bierce

Also on this day:

Dord – In 1939, the unknown word DORD was found in Webster’s Dictionary.
B&O Railroad – In 1827, a law was passed to form the B&O Railroad.
Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen – In 1983, the final episode of M*A*S*H was televised.

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Suffrage

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 27, 2012

Women picket outside the White House

February 27, 1922: Leser v. Garnett is decided by the US Supreme Court. Universal suffrage has been a sought after ideal since democracies began to reappear. Athens, in 508 BC, became the first well-known democracy. This form of government is based on the premise that power comes from the people who are free to express their wishes via a free electoral system. In ancient Athens free men could vote or have their say. Women and slaves were excluded from the process.

Democracies were replaced by monarchies or oligarchies until the Middle Ages when some forms of representative government once again emerged. Voting rights and permissions have been slowly increasing. Property owners (males only) were first given a role in their own rule. Slowly, the amount of property a man needed to posses was lowered. The next step was for all free men to be given the vote. In the US, the end of the Civil War brought freedom to slaves. Race remained a stumbling block on the way to the voting booth.

The 15th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified on February 3, 1870, less than a year after it was proposed. Now all men, regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude” could vote. Women, regardless of race, were still not granted this basic right. The women campaigned for equality of voting privilege and finally – 50 years later – the 19th Amendment was ratified. On August 18, 1920 the right to vote was no longer predicated on the citizen’s sex. The last state to ratify the Amendment was Mississippi which finally did so on March 22, 1984.

On October 12, 1920 Cecelia Streett Waters and Mary D. Randolph registered to vote in the state of Maryland. The state Constitution limited voting rights to men only. Oscar Leser and others filed suit against the state board of registry demanding the women’s names be stricken. The case listed three reasons for the invalid nature of the 19th Amendment. The US Supreme Court heard the case January 23-24, 1922 with Chief Justice William H. Taft presiding. Louis Brandeis wrote the unanimous opinion of the court. The 19th Amendment was indeed valid and women could vote. Case closed.

In democracy it’s your vote that counts. In feudalism it’s your count that votes. – Mogens Jallberg

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting. – Charles Bukowski

If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. – Jay Leno

I think it’s about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we’ve been voting for boobs long enough. – Claire Sargent

Also on this day:

Party in New Orleans! – In 1827, Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans for the first time.
Andersonville – In 1864, the Confederacy’s POW camp at Andersonville opened.
The Lord and the Luddites – In1812, George Gordon Byron spoke out in the House of Lords.

World Trade Center

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 26, 2012

WTC damage in 1993

February 26, 1993: A truck bomb explodes in New York City. Ramzi Yousef and his cohorts received financial backing from Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, Yousef’s uncle. They placed a 1,500 pound urea nitrate-hydrogen gas enhanced device in the back of a Ryder van and parked in the public garage under the World Trade Center (WTC). There was a 20 foot fuse giving Yousef and Eyad Ismoil twelve minutes to leave the area after Yousef lit the fuse with his cigarette lighter. The plan was to knock North Tower (Tower One) into the South Tower (Tower Two) and bring down the WTC. The bomb was brought in shortly after noon. It was expected to cause thousands of deaths.

The fuse burnt down and at 12:17:37 PM the bomb exploded. A 98 foot hole ripped through four sublevels of concrete. The explosion cut the main electrical power line and emergency lighting was lost. The roiling smoke reached as high as the 93rd floor in both towers. Even the stairwells filled with smoke making evacuation even more difficult. People were trapped in the elevators when power was lost. Broadcast radio and television signals were also loss when the electricity lines were severed.

Six people were killed in the explosion. Another 1,042 were injured, many due to smoke inhalation as they made their way down the emergency exits. The towers, however, remained standing. If the truck had been parked closer to the poured concrete foundations, the plan may have worked. The loaded truck had left Jersey City early in the morning. There is speculation that the original target was the UN building but security was too strict. The WTC was a second-best target and the noon hour bombing came after failure to park at the UN.

Within hours, Yousef had escaped to Pakistan. Yousef was the 436th person to be added to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on April 21, 1993. On February 7, 1995 Pakistani intelligence and US Bureau of Diplomatic Security captured Yousef in Islamabad, Pakistan. Yousef was found guilty of two separate acts of terrorism. He is held at the high-security Supermax prison ADX Florence in Florence, Colorado. He is serving a life sentence without parole.

With just a little more money, they would have come down, it is not yet finished. – Ramzi Yousef, looking at the WTC

I am a terrorist, and I am proud of it as long as it is against the U.S. government. – Ramzi Yousef, at his trial

While we must remain determined to defeat terrorism, it isn’t only terrorism we are fighting. It’s the beliefs that motivate terrorists. A new ideology of hatred and intolerance has arisen to challenge America and liberal democracy. – John Kerry

There is no doubt that our nation’s security and defeating terrorism trump all other priorities. – Arlen Specter

Also on this day:

Waist Overalls – In 1829, Levi Strauss was born.
Grand Canyon – In 1919, Grand Canyon National Park was established.
WorldWideWeb Browser – In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee introduced his WorldWideWeb browser, the first stable web browser.

Battle Stations

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 25, 2012

Headline from the LA Times

February 25, 1942: In the early morning hours the Battle of Los Angeles takes place. In December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On February 23, 1942, a Japanese submarine I-17 shelled the Ellwood Oil Field near Santa Barbara, California. The shelling did $500-$1,000 in damages and there were no casualties. The sub was last seen heading south, toward LA. Tensions were high with people fearing another mainland attack. During the night of February 24-25 something was seen. Air raid sirens were blaring and at 2:25 AM a total blackout was ordered.

Thousands of air raid wardens were called out. They patrolled the streets making sure Los Angeles remained blanketed by darkness. At 3:16 AM the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade commenced firing. During the course of the bombardment over 1,400 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells were fired. Shelling ceased at 4:14 AM. It took 20 minutes for the unidentified objects to move from the airspace over Santa Monica to the airspace of Long Beach, a distance of ≈ 20 miles. The all clear signal was given at 7:21 AM. Three civilians were killed by friendly fire and another three died of heart attacks during the night, attributed to the stress of the sirens and shelling.

There has been speculation about what was flying over LA that night. Several spotlights from the ground converged on a section of the night sky. There were several bright points of light outlying the area of convergence and a large smudge was seen in the center. Some people saw a flying saucer in the convergence zone. Hours after the incident, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox held a press conference and called the encounter a false alarm and blamed it on “war nerves.” The LA Times ran the headline the following day saying “Army Says Alarm Real.”

Several high ranking officers of the War Department, the Navy, and the Army were involved in sorting out what happened. Secret memos went between the officials of the various branches of the military and made their way to President Roosevelt. Today, there is as much confusion about the Battle of Los Angeles as there was during the war years. No planes were downed. No weather balloons were shot out of the sky. Was the raid simply a practice run? Was it something to scare 2,000,000 people, as Representative Leland Ford accused? Or were there real UFOs lurking over LA?

At 0306 a balloon carrying a red flare was seen over Santa Monica and four batteries of anti-aircraft artillery opened fire, whereupon “the air over Los Angeles erupted like a volcano.” From this point on reports were hopelessly at variance. – The Army Air Forces in World War II, under the editorship of Wesley Frank Craven, James Lea Cate

The divergence of views between the War and Navy departments, and the unsatisfying conjectures advanced by the Army to explain the affair, touched off a vigorous public discussion. – The Army Air Forces in World War II, under the editorship of Wesley Frank Craven, James Lea Cate

At the end of the war, the Japanese stated that they did not send planes over the area at the time of this alert, although submarine-launched aircraft were subsequently used over Seattle. – The Army Air Forces in World War II, under the editorship of Wesley Frank Craven, James Lea Cate

Why is it that men who can go through severe accidents, air raids, and any other major crisis always seems to think that they are at death’s door when they have a simple head cold? – Shirley Booth

Also on this day:

“Do you feel lucky?” – In 1836, Samuel Colt received a patent for his new revolver.
Gas Tax – In 1919, the first gas tax in the US was instituted.
Cut Off – In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.

Religious Persecution

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 24, 2012

Emperor Galerius

February 24, 303: Roman Emperor Galerius publishes an edict. Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus was Caesar under Diocletian from 293-305. He then became Augustus with a variety of men from 305 until his death in 311. Caesar was an imperial title and meant he was ruler in a portion of the Empire. When he rose to Augustus status, it meant he was one of two senior Emperors (one for the East, the other for the West). In 303 Galerius served under Diocletian who ruled alone from 284-286 and then as Augustus (East) with Maximian.

Diocletian and Galerius had been warring with Persia. When peace was brokered, they returned to Syrian Antioch. In 299, the two powerful men performed a ritual sacrifice but the haruspices (men trained to divine omens from sacrificed animals) were unable to clearly “read the entrails.” Their inability to predict the future was blamed on Christians living in the household. The Christians were removed and everyone made sacrifices to purify the court.

Diocletian was conservative in his religious practices and honored the Roman gods. According to Eusebius, known today as the Father of Church History, it was Galerius who was the more pious of the two. It was he who ordered military commands to perform sacrifices to restore the good will of the pantheon of Roman gods and goddesses. Diocletian lived in Antioch but traveled to Egypt. There, he was dismayed by some religious practices and ordered followers of Mani to be killed and their scriptures burned.

On February 23, 303, after a winter of debating the fate of the bothersome Christians (they interrupted sacrifices), an order came down to destroy a newly built church. The next day, an “Edict against the Christians” was published. It called for the destruction of all Holy Scriptures and churches across the Empire. Christians were barred from gathering for worship. When a fire destroyed part of the palace, Galerius blamed the Christians and some were tortuously executed. Christians were persecuted across the Roman Empire but were not wiped out. In less than 25 years, the entire Roman Empire would be ruled by Constantine, the first Christian Emperor. He reversed the edicts and restored property to the Church.

Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution. – William Butler Yeats

Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and over-zealous piety. – Edmund Burke

Religious tolerance is something we should all practice; however, there have been more persecution and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else. – Walter Koenig

All people in all regions in China enjoy religious freedom in accordance with the law. – Liu Jianchao

Also on this day:

Smile – In 1938, DuPont created a nylon-bristle toothbrush.
Opera – In 1607, the first opera premiered.
Murder, She Wrote – In 1981, Jean Harris was convicted of murder.

ISO

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 23, 2012

ISO logo

February 23, 1947: A new worldwide standardization group is founded. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the ISO began as an idea proposed in October 1946. At a meeting at the Institute of Civil Engineers held in London, delegates from 25 countries saw a need for “international coordination and unification of industrial standards.” A meeting held in Paris in April 1947 produced a list recommending 67 ISO technical committees. The early “Recommendations” they produced were derived from standards that had been developed nationally, approved, and then were to be re-introduced nationally.

ISO is neither an acronym nor initialization of the full name of the group. The official languages for the entity are English and French. The full name in English is the International Organization for Standardization. In French, it is Organisation internationale de normalisation. ISO, pronounced eye-sow (rhymes with how), is from the Greek word isos, which means equal. Since the name changes according to the language, the Organization chose to represents itself with ISO. The logo is a blue background with a globe marked with longitude and latitude lines and ISO covering the globe itself, all in white.

Today, there are 158 out of a possible 195 countries who are part of ISO. There are three types of memberships. Member bodies are the most representative. Correspondent members are countries without their own standards organizations. Subscriber members are countries with small economies. The 36 non-participating countries are small nations. The ten Subscribers members are given reduced membership fees. The 47 Correspondent members are given more access to the development of standards. The 105 Member bodies are those that can vote.

Some standards, although a rare few, are available for free. Most have to be purchased. This has led to a charge of unfairness with some saying the cost is too great for small or open source projects. There is a complaint about the time required to actually set standards. In a fast paced electronic world, time is of the essence. There have also been charges of committees being swayed by mega-institutions, such as Microsoft, for the setting of internationally accepted standards.

We looked at that bad experience and said this is a great opportunity to use a problem solving strategy we’re going to use in the future under ISO, a process to resolve issues related to quality. – Tom Hicks

Scalable took existing policies and did a gap analysis, to see what was needed for ISO compliance. – Kevin Doyle

In addition, we have external auditors. The most important technologies applied to improve the refinery production are safety, health, and the environment. Thirteen new systems were applied to achieve the ISO Certification. – Husain Ismail

We designed the facility from the customers’ perspective, investing heavily in new shop capabilities and making sure the layouts would be more conducive to efficient, timely work flows. Our ISO-9000 initiatives and Kaizen innovations have helped along the way. We have room on this new site to grow in place literally for decades to come. – Dave Ford

Also on this day:

The Rotary Club – In 1905, the Rotary Club was formed.
Cato Conspiracy – In 1820, the plot to kill British cabinet members was exposed.
Gutenberg Bible – In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was published.

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The White Rose

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2012

White Rose members, Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst

February 22, 1943: Three members of The White Rose are executed. Known as die Weiße Rose in German, they were a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. The group was made up of several students from the University of Munich along with Kurt Huber, a professor of philosophy and musicology. The students put out six leaflets between June 1942 and February 1943. They called for an end to the Nazi regime, the tyranny of Germany, and Hitler’s rule.

Hans Scholl (24) and his sister, Sophie (21), were part of the core membership of The White Rose. In 1941 they had attended a sermon by bishop August von Galen, an outspoken critic of Nazi policies. They were influenced by the talk and they formed their own group to help rouse the German people to rebel against the tyranny of the Nazi government. Their leaflets quoted the Bible, Aristotle, Novalis, Goethe, and Schiller. The students hoped to sway the intelligentsia and enlist their help to spread the word.

Early leaflets were small runs and mailed to specific targets and held an added message to reprint and distribute them. By January 1943 they are thought to have printed 6,000 to 9,000 copies of their fifth leaflet. The Gestapo became aware of the anonymous writings and diligently searched for the authors. On February 18 the Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to University and set them about the atrium for students leaving their lecture halls. A few remained in the suitcase and Sophie threw them from the top floor. A custodian saw her and reported the siblings to the Gestapo. Their sixth leaflet was published posthumously.

The Scholls were taken into custody and soon the rest of the group were also under arrest. The Scholls and Christoph Probst (23) were tried on this date. They were charged with political crimes against the state. Found guilty, they were sentenced to death. All three were guillotined that same day. The rest of the group was tried and then beheaded in stages so as not to have too many executions at one time. Today, the young men and women are revered as heroes with a memorial standing in the Hofgarten in Munich.

If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the insatiable demon.

We are not in a position to draw up a final judgment about the meaning of our history.

But what are the German people doing? They will not see and will not listen. Blindly they follow their seducers into ruin. Victory at any price! is inscribed on their banner. “I will fight to the last man,” says Hitler – but in the meantime the war has already been lost.

The day of reckoning has come – the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. In the name of German youth we demand restitution by Adolf Hitler’s state of our personal freedom, the most precious treasure we have, out of which he has swindled us in the most miserable way. – all from The White Rose leaflets

Also on this day:

Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Hello, Dolly – In 1997, the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep.
Grady the Cow – In 1949, a cow got stuck in a silo and made national news.

Incas

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 21, 2012

Carolina Parakeet

February 21, 1918: The last known Carolina Parakeet dies at the Cincinnati Zoo. The last wild specimen was killed in Florida in 1904. Incas, the male parakeet at the zoo, died within a year of Lady Jane, his mate. Incas died in the same cage that had housed Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who had died at the zoo in 1914. It was not until 1939 that the Carolina Parakeet was determined to be extinct. Once plentiful in the Eastern US, the area’s only native parrot came to this ignominious end for a variety of reasons. Their habitat was cleared away for agriculture, the newly introduced honeybee took over nesting areas, and they were hunted by farmers. Their green and yellow feathers were also prized.

The North American continent, like all others, have lost a host of species across time. In the last 10,000 years the avian community has altered considerable. The Merriam’s Teratorn disappeared ≈ 8000 BC and another five species are known to have become extinct before 1500 AD. Since that time, we know we have lost 25 different species of birds, the Carolina Parakeet among them. Although there have been claims of sightings, none have been confirmed. There are another seven North American birds that are probably extinct.

A species is extinct when the last member dies. It becomes functionally extinct when only a few members survive and they are not able to reproduce. It is imperative to have a clear definition of a species in order to determine if a replacement or daughter species has evolved. Species can also become locally extinct but exist elsewhere on the planet. Some species are known to be extinct in the wild but remain alive in zoos or other artificial environments.

Those species not extinct are extant. When numbers in an extant species drop, they become threatened or endangered. Even endangered species are sub-classified as critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, conservation dependent, near threatened, and least concern. There is controversy over what criteria is used in order for a species to make the list. Ecologists, striving to learn more about endangered species, leave their own mark on the survival, say environmentalists. Biodiversity as enacted by conservationists may not leave room for ecological succession.

Ninety-nine percent of species put on this list are not extinct. That is not a failure; that’s an enormous success. – Norm Dicks

This is recognizing that beyond architectural beauty, natural beauty is something that can’t be replaced. Once these bird species go extinct they’re not coming back. – Adrian Benepe

The fact that no species has gone extinct that’s been protected under the Act…is a resounding success. – Peter Galvin

This is a totally unusual conservation dilemma – species going extinct in a relatively pristine environment. Now we’re basically trying to save as many as we can as we try to figure out our next step. – Alejandro Grajal

Also on this day:

The Washington Monument – In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.
Karl Marx – In 1848, The Communist Manifesto was published.
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz – In 1931, Miles Laboratories introduced Alka-Seltzer to the world.

Ice Skating

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 20, 2012

Tara Lipinski

February 20, 1998: Tara Lipinski wins a gold medal for figure skating. Tara was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 10, 1982. She took up roller skating at the age of three and won competitions. She went on to figure skating at age six because she wanted to go faster. She first competed in 1990 at the regional championships and came in second.  Returning to wheels in 1991 she took first for freestyle as a nine-year-old at the US Roller Skating Championships. Back on ice, Tara came to national attention at the 1994 US Olympic Festival competition, winning at the junior level.

The 1998 Winter Olympics were held in Nagano, Japan. Tara had lost to Michelle Kwan prior to their meeting again in Japan. Michelle’s performance was earlier in the competition and was brilliantly executed. Tara skated toward the end of the lineup. She also performed brilliantly. Her routine was more technically difficult with a triple jump at the very end of her program. She took the gold – the youngest Winter Olympics gold medallist at the age of 15 years, 8 months, and 10 days. Michelle took silver and Chen Lu of China took the bronze.

Richard Callaghan was Tara’s coach. He also coached Todd Eldredge, six time US Champion and 1996 World Champion. His other national title holder was Nicole Bobek. Tara withdrew from the 1998 World Figure Skating Championships on March 9, 1998. She chose to turn to professional skating. She toured with Stars on Ice for four seasons. She sustained injuries to her hip and this caused her skating performances to decline. Due to persistent injuries, she has not skated professionally since 2002.

The youngest Olympic gold medallist was Marjorie Gestring of the US who won the three meter springboard competition when she was 13 years, 268 days old. Michael Phelps has won the most gold medals with 14 at the 2004 and 2008 Games. He also won two bronze medals for a total of 16. Larissa Latynina is one of four who have won nine gold medals. She also won five silver and four bronze medals for a total of 18 (most overall) in Games held between 1956 and 1964. The most gold medals at a single Olympic Games goes to Michael Phelps with eight in 2008. Between 1936 and 1960 Aladâr Gerevich of Hungary took six gold medals in Team Sabre, the most for any single event.

Her winning program

Tara (Lipinski) got out there like a bat out of hell and skated her guts out. Michelle skated very well, but she skated conservatively. She skated great, just not fantastic. That was the difference. – Frank Carroll

It’s hard work, and you have to love the sport so much. I think that shines through. If you don’t love it, or you do it for someone else, you won’t be able to hang onto it. Not only did I want it, I loved it. You really have to love it from within every corner of your body. – Tara Lipinski

I had that feeling of just pure joy and I went out there and put it in my program. – Tara Lipinski

I was so worried about winning, it was as if I was caught up in my own web. – Michelle Kwan

Also on this day:

Iceberg Ahead – In 1856, the ship John Rutledge struck an iceberg and sunk.
Medal of Honor – Butch O’Hare was declared the first US flying ace during World War II.
The Met – In 1872. New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.

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