First Leyden Lecture Series of 2017 Features Female Olympic Trio
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Bishop Lynch High School welcomed a trio of female Olympians on Tuesday, January 17 — including two gold medalists—in the latest installment of the Leyden Lecture Series.
Michelle Carter, Darlene Hunter and Nina Rangelova each shared their story of athletic success to Bishop Lynch students, staff and others from the BL community. Afterward, the athletes took pictures with members of the audience and let students try on Olympic gold medals.
Stuart Kantor, an English instructor at Bishop Lynch, shared his thoughts on the experience and the opportunity to meet some of the world’s finest athletes.
“It’s not often one gets to meet an Olympian, let alone a gold medalist,” Kantor said. “Our students got a chance to meet two gold medalists and one of Bulgaria’s greatest modern athletes who owns almost every female swimming record for her country.
“The ladies were inspirational, funny and approachable. It was a great honor to have the three of them on stage inspiring our students and having a great time together.”
The ladies brought with them some most impressive resumes.
Carter won gold in the shot put during the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning on her final throw to become the first American to win the event since its inception in 1948. She’s a six-time national champion and 2006 NCAA champion with the University of Texas.
Hunter helped the U.S. women win gold in Rio in the Paralympic basketball event, adding to gold medals previously won 2011 Parapan American games and 2010 IWBF World Championships. Hunter earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona, her Master’s degree at the University of Texas and doctorate from Texas Woman’s University.
Rangelova is a former NCAA All-American with Southern Methodist University and competed in Rio, the third summer games she has been involved in. At the 2014 Bulgarian National Championship, she completed a total sweep, winning all 10 events and setting a national record in the 50-meter butterfly.
Many students came away with positive impressions from Monday’s event, including senior Caitlyn Johnson, who said the women inspired her to always push herself to do better.
“I really enjoyed this lecture! Meeting the Olympians inspired me to push myself to do better,” Johnson said. “Learning the difference between the Paralympics and Special Olympics and the different medals was very eye-opening.
“In the Paralympics for the visually-impaired, they have braille on the medals and beads inside them so they can hear if they have the correct type of medal. Also, my favorite thing that Ms. Darlene said was, ‘The only difference between me and you are a split second.’ I had never thought of life that way. In all I feel like I learned a lot about a topic that I was very unfamiliar with and very glad I went.”