By Brad Spencer
With the 2012 Olympics soon to kick off, and a familiar face in Oak Park's own Ellis Coleman taking to the wrestling mat to compete as the youngest grappler at the Games in London, we felt it was a good time to take another trip down memory lane.
The best place to do that was at the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest's website, which currently features a page dedicated to former local Olympians. The athletes go back as far as 1904 when Sidney Herbert Hatch won a silver medal in the four-mile at the Olympics held in St. Louis. He ran in the 1908 London Olympic marathon as well. Hatch was chosen for the 1912 Olympics that were held in Stockholm, Sweden, but did not attend.
Other former Olympians from the area include Chuck Hoag, a basketball player who won gold in the 1952 Games in Helinski, Finland, and Dani Tyler, who won gold as a member of the U.S. Olympic softball team in 1996. The website, OPRFhistory.org, also provides brief profiles on such athletes as Becky Wilczak (luge), Aaron Parchem (figure skater) and John Register (swimming, track and field in Paralympic Games), to name a few.
As for Coleman, a 2009 graduate of OPRF High School, he'll be competing in the 60kg Greco Roman quarterfinals beginning on Monday, Aug. 6. The matches will be televised on MSNBC (Ch. 215 AT&T U-verse, Ch. 59 Comcast) at 10:15 a.m.