An Olympic Family History Moment

Imagine finally seeing your father run in the Olympics – the 1912 Olympics, that is.

Creating video biographies is always fulfilling for me. But occasionally I’m able to provide a special service that really gives me the warm fuzzies. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Just before Christmas of 2004 I completed a Family Legacy Video for a wonderful couple, Mary-Lou and Dick, here in Tucson. It turns out that Mary-Lou’s dad was a college track star in the 1910s, held the record for the mile for a number of years and placed fourth in the 1500m run in the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.

After I finished the video, Dick asked me if I thought film footage of the race might exist. I told him I’d check around. I contacted a few film archives with no success, then managed to find my way to the Web site of the International Olympic Committee. I submitted a query through the site, and then went on to other things.

After about a month, I received an e-mail from an archivist at the IOC. Believe it or not there was a film clip, thirty seconds long, of the race I was looking for!

Long story short, the IOC sent me the clip. The quality of the film was surprisingly good and gave views of the starting line, the mid point of the race and the finish. I added a title screen and created two versions of the clip, one running at normal speed and one in slow motion, adding a freeze frame of Mary-Lou’s father crossing the finish line. Then I put it all on DVD.

A few days ago, Mary-Lou wrote me, saying, “You can’t imagine what a thrill it was to see Dad running. That was an amazing thing you did for us but it meant the most to me. Thank you again and again.”

I feel great knowing I helped make a very special and unique addition to a family’s archive.

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