INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 15: Simone Biles competes in the women's finals of the 2015 P&G Gymnastics Championships at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on August 15, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Olympic Trials

Masthead Photo by Joe Robbins

About the time Kathy Rigby was qualifying at the World Championships, I needed courses to satisfy my Phys. Ed. requirement. One course I chose was Women’s Gymnastics. None of  the half dozen of us attendees had ever been exposed to tumbling, vaulting, beam or uneven bars, but we loved our class and loved our teacher, Mrs. Ann Laptad (Schiltz).


After the brief, six-week course was completed, we decided we wanted to compete and our teacher gamely put us in the collegiate schedule. As inept as we were, we did win one meet when the opposing team could not travel through the blizzard to reach Iowa City unscathed.
Michelle on Unevens 1970
Michelle on Uneven Bars, 1970


The only meet I remember, I had to compete on the uneven bars (with “rippers” on my palms), and on the horse, which terrified me. “You can do it,” Mrs. Laptad encouraged me, so I stood. (Quavered.) Ran…and fell over the horse, for which I was awarded a 2.25.
I was happy about that score, and amazed that the judges awarded any points at all for falling over the apparatus. I was afraid, but I tried.


For those of us less than completely confident about our trials, let’s move through any fears and keep trying. Our souls will award us gold medals for the effort and I, as usual, send you
love, chelle

Disney characters singing, “Do Your Best/Practice Makes Perfect” at

4 thoughts on “Olympic Trials

  1. Cute! I suppose all we can do is try and do our best. I only remember having success on the balance beam. I was good in gym in general but my girlfriend could do 10 back flips in a row on the mat. I never felt inferior though. I was happy for her amazing accomplishment and would count for her. Today I feel like I have won the Olympic gold in educational pursuits for what it is worth. It is not always fun, but I am trying my best…..

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