Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 27, 2012

Locals gear up for 2012 Olympic games

KANSAS, Okla. — Today marks the beginning of the global event that never fails to deliver indelible and historic moments.

The Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, which will be televised on NBC beginning at 6 p.m., will launch a two-week display of strength, endurance, commitment, integrity and love of country.

Competition in women’s football began Wednesday to headline nearly 40 different event categories, including archery, basketball, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, gymnastics, handball, Judo, modern pentathlon, sailing, table tennis, volleyball and water polo.

There are no competitions scheduled today to allow for the celebration that will showcase the United Kingdom as host nation, as well as Olympians from around the world.

For many, watching the opening and closing ceremonies is a favorite event to take in, while others look forward to individual competitions or following the progress of key athletes.

Cherokee County 911 Coordinator Marty Kimble noted interest is especially high in the progress of American 60-meter hurdle record holder Lori “Lolo” Jones and vaunted American swimmer Michael Phelps.

“I’ve been able to watch a couple programs on the athletes. One was on Lolo Jones, the track star. I’m curious to see how she’ll do,” Kimble said. “She had some kind of surgery. When she was running, all of sudden, she just started falling. She’s a hurdler.”

According to NBCOlympics.com, Jones had surgery for tethered spinal cord in 2011. A clipped hurdle kept Jones from winning gold in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2008 Games.

“Then there’s Michael Phelps,” said Kimble. “I’m sure everybody wants to see what he does. Another is Gabby Douglas. She is a [16-year-old] gymnast. She’s been in gymnastics ever since she was little-bitty. She has a contagious smile. She’s one of the shows on the athletes that I saw. She was going to quit. She was tired and did a 180. I think her name’s going to come up. And I’d really like to see an any American give Usain Bolt a run for his money. He’s pretty phenomenal.”

Northeastern State University Head baseball coach Travis Janseen is on board with the hype and expectation surrounding the USA men’s basketball team.

“I am a basketball fan, and they are so dominant,” he said. “My favorite event is the 100-meter dash. I like it because it’s exciting to see those elite sprinters run like they do. You don’t get a chance to see that all the time. What they can do is pretty amazing.”

NSU head women’s tennis coach and Fitness Center Director Ron Cox can’t pick just one event to watch, because he enjoys everything the Olympics is about.

“I get caught up in almost every activity at the Olympics,” he said. “I think probably the swimming would be my favorite, if I had to pick one. I get so excited with how good we are. I also enjoy the basketball and tennis because I’ve coached both sports.”

Cox mentioned Oklahoma City Thunder forward and three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant as an athlete to watch.

“I think he is a quality young man, and he is a smooth athlete,” Cox said. “I enjoy watching him compete.”

Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Tourism Director Kate Kelly echoed Cox’s sentiment in embracing more than one Olympic event, but makes a point to watch the official start to the Games.

“It’s a huge production and while watching I always marvel at the amount of effort and planning that go in to the ceremony that we see,” she said. “Sometimes I get caught up in thinking about the production and forget to just watch and enjoy it.”

Kelly especially appreciates the diving competition.

“It’s fascinating. Some of the dives are just so beautiful,” she said. “Gymnastics are fun to watch. Once again, one marvels at the abilities of these athletes. [And ] I love the equestrian events. The horses are all gorgeous, and it is enjoyable to watch them perform and demonstrate their years of practice and training.”

Hulbert Mayor Shirley Teague relishes the element of danger in the high-diving competition.

“That takes a lot of courage,” she said. “It’s exciting to watch.”

Cherokee County Election Board assistant secretary Shannon Hensley was a gymnast in her earlier days, and looks forward to the competition that illustrates an athlete’s acrobatic ability and strength.

“Gymnastics has always been my favorite,” she said. “I did gymnastics when I was Iittle. My favorite athlete is [retired American artistic gymnast and 2008 balance beam gold medalist] Shawn Johnson. She’s really good.”

In responding to the Daily Press’ Facebook question on favorite events to watch, local insurance agent Trae Ratliff said he can’t wait to catch a glimpse of the five-time World and three-time Olympic gold medalist from Jamaica.

“It’s hard to overlook the excitement of the return of the fastest man in the world: Usain Bolt,” he said.

Sheri Denny Gourd likes the aesthetic impact made by the gymnasts.

“Gymnastics [is my favorite event to watch] because the athletes show such strength and beauty,” she said.

Stacy Pratt, a Tahlequah native (and former Daily Press staffer) who’s now an English instructor at a New York college, agrees with Gourd.

“I know that is a very conventional answer, but it is such a beautiful sport to watch, despite its controversies,” she said. “I was a Tahlequah Aerial, years ago. Our little gym was on Muskogee Avenue, if anyone remembers it. Gymnastics requires so much discipline: attention to safety, accuracy, and beauty all at the same time. It is exciting to do and to watch.”

NSU alum and former Daily Press employee Robin Brown is looking forward to seeing the USA’s NBA dominance.

“Nothing like good ol’ American supremacy to show them foreigners who is boss,” he quipped.

Former Cherokee County resident Charles Letbetter hopes to see Team C.S.I. in the game soon as his favorite event to watch is the javelin competition.

“I keep waiting year after year for someone to slip and murder a judge,” he said.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered everyday to your home or office. Code for E-EDITION TRIAL OR SUBSCRIBE Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition.

It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

Text Only
Local News
  • ths-jazz-2.jpg THS jazz band gets up early to hone performance skills

    It means getting up an hour earlier, and it doesn’t count as a class, but the jazz band at Tahlequah High School enjoys the dedication of a group of enthusiastic students.
    The THS Jazz Band practices every day at 7 a.m., an hour before the start of classes. It numbers 17, and is led by Director Orien Landis.
    “They have to do this before school and they get no class credit, but we have a full band,” Landis said. “They are really excited about this.”

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Easter-basket-kid.jpg Easter traditions date back centuries

    Some Christians may lament a partial shift of focus, but a Christian holy day - perhaps the most holy of all – is this Sunday, and it will be marked with celebrations all around the world.
    The Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. For centuries, the observant have fasted, reflected or done penance in the weeks leading to the holiday. But today, many also associate the holiday with the Easter bunny, candy, and kites. In 2013, Americans spent $2.1 billion on Easter candy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Some oppose minimum wage hike; others decry strong-arming by state

    President Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate recently announced a push to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour, to $10.10. On the heels of the announcement, an initiative petition was introduced in Oklahoma City to raise the minimum wage to the suggested $10.10. If it gained 80,000 signatures, it would be put to a vote of the people.
    This legislative session, a bill passed prohibiting municipalities from setting a minimum was or vacation and sick-day requirements. Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill into law earlier this week.

    April 18, 2014

  • Phone scam takes $500 from couple

    Authorities are warning Cherokee County residents to watch for a costly phone scam that recently targeted a local couple and ended in their loss of $500.
    According to sheriff’s deputies, a couple contacted authorities after losing $500 to the scam. The couple received a phone call from a man who identified himself only as “Mr. Green.” He told the couple they had won $1.5 million through Publisher’s Clearing House, but to collect the money, the couple would have to purchase a $500 money card to cover various fees.

    April 18, 2014

  • Missing local teen found dead

    The body of a missing 17-year-old boy was found in southern Cherokee County on Thursday, sheriff’s investigators said.
    Brikk Pritchett was reported missing earlier this month after disappearing on March 30, a day before his 17th birthday.

    April 18, 2014

  • ts honor flight 1.tif Flight of honor

    World War II veteran Charles Harra flew missions for the Army Air Corps, and if you ask him which flight was his most memorable, he’ll say it was his 35th mission.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man charged after leading authorities on wild chase

    Prosecutors have formally charged a man who allegedly led authorities on a wild high-speed pursuit across Cherokee County in late March.

    April 17, 2014

  • Sex offender bonds out after failing to register

    A Cherokee County man is out on bond after being arrested last week for failing to register as a sex offender.

    April 17, 2014

  • jn radiator shop.jpg ‘Greenbelt’ progressing

    Crews this week began to demolish an abandoned radiator shop at the corner of South Street and Guinn Avenue.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts slut walk.tif SlutWalk shines spotlight on crime

    “Two, four, six, eight, stop the violence, stop the rape; slut, slut, ho, ho, yes means yes and no means no!”
    This was the battle cry across the campus of Northeastern State University, as the student branch of the American Association of University Women held its third annual SlutWalk Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video