U.S. Olympic Festival Notebook
SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Wendy Millette was sobbing and Jason Tebo was limping when they finished their ice dance performance at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
The bronze medalists skated last Sunday night, returning to the ice after a fall during warmups that left a deep gash in Tebo’s right leg.
″It cut my shin right down to the bone, but didn’t damage the bone,″ Tebo said. ″They closed it up as best they could and left it up to me. So I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ You don’t get here every day.″
Millette’s blade caught Tebo’s, causing the fall.
″It was a fluke,″ Millette said. ″We never fall. I was so scared and so proud of Jason. I didn’t think he could do it. There was blood everywhere.″
Millette, 22, of Concord, Mass., and Tebo, 23, of Waltham, Mass., wore solid white costumes. Tebo’s right leg was covered with red splotches from the knee down, even after his coach used white shoe polish to try and hide the blood.
″It was very painful, but it was worth it,″ Tebo said.
The crowd gave them a standing ovation as they left the ice. Tebo was then taken to a local hospital for stitches.
BIG AND FUNNY:. Weightlifter Mark Henry has a sense of humor to match his size.
The 365-pounder from Silsbee, Texas, said Sunday that basketball was always his first love. He has been known to dunk, although he wasn’t able to do it at a televised slam-dunk contests involving other athletes.
″Every time the cameras are rolling, I just choke,″ said Henry, who will compete Monday at the U.S. Olympic Festival.
When did he realize he was better suited for perhaps football or weightlifting?
″In the ninth grade, when I was 350 pounds and you had to run for 40 minutes,″ he said. ″That kind of led me the other way.″
Henry threw the discus in high school, but missed the state meet one year because he decided to race a friend in the high hurdles.
″I cleared the first hurdle just beautiful, technique and everything,″ he said. ″It’s just that I couldn’t get off the ground when I got over it.″
Henry had hoped to break the American record in the superheavyweight class at the festival, but said a recent knee injury would likely derail that goal.
RECORD-SETTING LIFTER:. Rocky Larson used to be a big fan of Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger, so he took up powerlifting. His effort Sunday would have made them proud.
Larson broke his own International Special Olympics deadlift world record by hoisting 540 pounds. His previous mark was 529 pounds.
″This is excellent. I knew I could do it,″ said Larson, of Bothell, Wash. ″I have confidence and I bet I’ll lift 600 someday.″
NICE COMEBACK:. Jon Gargiulo of Miller Place, N.Y., had a little motivation to win his first-round badminton match at the Olympic Festival.
After falling behind 8-1 in the decisive fifth game Saturday, Gargiulo heard a group of local disadvantaged teen-agers start cheering him on.
″Whenever I did something right or he did something wrong, they cheered,″ Gargiulo said Sunday. ″I thought, ‘I’ve got to win this match.’ ″
Sure enough, Gargiulo rallied to win 9-8, then knocked a few birds into the group of kids. ″That opened the floodgates,″ he said.
The teens came out of the stands and swarmed the 20-year-old, asking for autographs and posing for pictures.
″I’ve never had something like that happen,″ Gargiulo said. ″But it was fun, definitely a lot of fun.″
YOUNG WINNER:. Figure skater Michelle Kwan isn’t the only 13-year-old to win a gold medal at the Olympic Festival.
Lindsey Phibbs of Toledo, Ohio, was part of the North’s gold-medal team in show jumping Saturday night at the equestrian venue. One of her teammates is her sister, Courtney, who is 17.
MAKE UP YOUR MIND:. Paul Harsanyi probably causes a double-take or two on the tennis court. That’s because the Potomoc, Md., player serves right-handed but hits his ground strokes left-handed.
″When I began just hitting a tennis ball around when I was little, I just hit,″ Harsanyi said. ″Then when I was 10 and began learning how to serve, I guess my first coach assumed I was right-handed and never noticed I hit left- handed. So I learned how to serve with my right hand.″
Harsanyi writes left-handed, but throws right-handed.
″I just feel more comfortable with my overhead skills using my right hand and it has worked well for me, so I have never thought about changing,″ he said.
NO HORSING AROUND:. It was no surprise that figure skating drew the largest crowds on Saturday’s first full day of the Olympic Festival, and that basketball was next.
The third-hottest ticket? Try equestrian, where 3,086 showed up.
In all, attendance at the 20 events totaled 44,700. Robert Marbut Jr., president of the local organizing committee, said nearly $2.1 million in tickets had been sold as of midnight Saturday.