Olympic heroes to coach at Bates track camp

Olympic gold medalists Bob Richards and Dick Fosbury will be among the coaches at this year’s Bates College Track and Field Camp for boys and girls age 13 to 17.

The camp, to take place June 23-28, will provide instruction and one-on-one coaching in all high school track events. It is directed by Peter Slovenski, head coach of track and cross country at Bowdoin College.

Richards and Fosbury both were recently named among “100 Golden Olympians,” the American gold medalists deemed most significant in the 100-year history of the modern Olympic Games. Pole-vaulter Richards won gold medals in the 1952 Games in Helsinki and the 1956 Games in Melbourne. High-jumper Fosbury won his gold medal in 1968 in Mexico City.

Known as “The Vaulting Vicar,” Richards — an ordained minister — also won an Olympic bronze medal in 1948 in London and competed in the Olympic decathlon in 1956 in Melbourne. In the days of bamboo poles, he was the second man to clear 15 feet. He tied a student from the University of Illinoisfor the NCAA championship in the pole vault. He won 17 AAU titles in the event.

Richards also gained fame as the first athlete to be depicted on the Wheaties cereal box, in 1956. He remains one of just eight athletes whose faces have appeared nationwide on the Wheaties package.

Fosbury, whose name forever will be linked to the revolutionary “Fosbury Flop” style in the high jump, was a late bloomer in the event, not even clearing seven feet until the 1968 indoor season. His winning jump of 7 feet, 4 1/4 inches, in Mexico City set an Olympic and U.S. record. He was still a student at Oregon State University when he won the Olympic title, and he went on to win the NCAA championship in 1969.

Fosbury also serves as an associate director of the Bates Track and Field Camp. Assistant camp director is Carolyn Court, head coach of women’s track and cross country at Bates.

Joining the two Olympians on the camp staff will be a highly qualified group of high school and college coaches and athletes. A certified athletic trainer will be on call at all times.

In addition to daily training sessions, staff and guest speakers will provide lectures, films and demonstrations on the latest training techniques. Speakers also focus on other aspects of competition, including nutrition, relaxation and discipline.

View Comments