Special Exhibit Honoring Penn State Olympians Opens at All-Sports Museum
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., August 18, 2004 - The Penn State All-Sports Museum has opened a special exhibit to honor the University's Olympians.
The exhibit, entitled "Salute to Penn State Olympians," features memorabilia and artifacts of athletes and coaches who have participated in the Olympic Games. More than 125 men and women with ties to Penn State have been involved with the Olympics since the 1920 games in Antwerp and their names are printed on special signs throughout the museum.
There are six current or former Penn State student-athletes participating in the Olympics in Athens, including junior men's gymnast Luis Vargas, who is competing in today's All-Around finals. Three current or former Penn State coaches are members of the United States coaching staff in Athens, including Beth Alford-Sullivan, head coach of the Nittany Lion women's track and field and cross country programs.
The only Olympic Gold medal won by a Penn State athlete in an individual event, won by Horace Ashenfelter, will be on display at the museum for the first time. Also on the display in the new Ashenfelter trophy case are the shoes, jersey and number worn by Ashenfelter when he won the 3,000-meter Steeplechase by upsetting the favored Russian, in 1952 at Helsinki, as well as Ashenfelter's Sullivan Award for his selection as the nation's amateur athlete of the year.
A large trophy case in the museum lobby includes a colorful array of uniforms worn by such Penn State athletes as diver Mary Ellen Clark, runner Herm Goffberg, and soccer player Ron Coder and track coach Harry Groves.
Another lobby display features personal memorabilia from Hall of Fame gymnastics coach Gene Wettstone and official Olympic historian and lecturer, John Lucas.
Among the other memorabilia in this special exhibit are:
--Basketball uniform worn by Suzie McConnell-Serio when her USA team won the Gold medal in 1988 at Seoul;
--Opening Ceremonies dress uniform worn by Mary Ellen Clark at Barcelona in 1992, when she won a Bronze medal;
--USA Team hat worn by Alan Helfrrich in 1924 at Paris, when he won a Gold medal as part of the 1,600-meter relay team;
--USA Soccer Team pullover jersey, playing jersey, and warm-up jacket worn by Walter Bahr (1948 at London), Chris Bahr (1976 USA team trials) and Dick Packer (1956 at Melbourne);
--Symbolic Olympic Torches carried by Charlene Morett and Herm Goffberg as part of the 1996 transfer of the Olympic flame from Barcelona to Atlanta;
--Plaque honoring wrestler Katsutoshi Naito for becoming the first Japanese medalist in wrestling when he won a bronze medal for Japan in the featherweight division in 1924 in Paris;
-- Olympic Order presented to John A. Lucas, official lecturer and historian for the Olympics, which is the highest possible individual award in international athletics.
The exhibit also includes the following memorabilia that has been on display in the All-Sports Museum since it opened on February 17, 2002:
--Silver medal won by Barney Ewell in the 100-meter race in 1948 at London;
--Bronze medal won by Alfred Bates in the long jump in 1928 at Amsterdam;
--Competiting medals won by Curtis Stone in the 5,000 meters race in 1948 at London and 1956 at Melbourne and the 5,000 and 10,000 meters races in 1952 at Helsinki;
--Competiting medal won by Herman Goffberg in the 10,000 meters race in 1948 at London;
--Shooting jacket worn by rifleman Glen Dubis when he finished 10th in 1996 at Atlanta;
--Field hockey stick used by Charlene Morett when her USA team won a Bronze medal in the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles
"We tried to gather a cross section of memorabilia and artifacts from our Penn State Olympians," said Lou Prato, director of the museum. "We think our visitors will enjoy seeing the exhibit and learning about Penn State's contribution to Olympic history. Most of the items in this special exhibit have been loaned to us by the athletes and coaches, although some of the memorabilia will become a permanent part of the museum's collection."
Prato said this special "Salute to Penn State Olympians" exhibit will run indefinitely so that fans attending Penn State's fall athletic events will have the opportunity to visit the museum and see the displays.
More than 93,000 visitors have passed through the All-Sports Museum, which is located in the southwest corner of Beaver Stadium, across from the Bryce Jordan Center.
Admission to the museum is free but visitors need to obtain a souvenir ticket at the museum reception desk for entry into the exhibits. Visitors can park at the parking meters in the lot directly across Curtin Road from the Museum entrance and the parking meters located in the Founder's Lot on the East side of the Bryce Jordan Center.
The museum's regular weekday and Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday hours are 12 to 4 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. During home football weekends, museum hours are extended on Friday (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The museum is closed on game day.