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December 03, 2003

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Publication Date: Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Glory days: A new exhibit at history museum recalls the golden days of sports stars in the area Glory days: A new exhibit at history museum recalls the golden days of sports stars in the area (December 03, 2003)

Local Olympic medal winners, hall of fame inductees, and professionals from many sports are remembered in a new exhibit at the San Mateo County History Museum.

Called "San Mateo County Sports: A Retrospective," the exhibit occupies two rooms and showcases photos, newspaper clippings, medals, trophies and sports memorabilia.

The South County sports stars featured range from Greta Johnson, who won the 1912 Olympic gold medal for tower diving, to Pam Wimberly, who coached girls' teams at Menlo-Atherton High School to 16 league and four CCS championships.

Among the objects on display: an Olympic gold medal won by Woodside High swimmer John Nabor, who took four golds and one silver in the 1976 Olympics.

The San Mateo County History Museum is located at 777 Hamilton St., off Broadway, in downtown Redwood City. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for seniors and students, and free for children 5 and under. For more information, call 299-0104.


At the 1912 Olympiad in Stockholm, swimming and diving were grudgingly added to the women's events. Greta Johnson , diving from a tower, won the gold medal in this event at age 17. She taught physical education at Cal and Stanford, and with her husband, Ernst Brandsten, another Olympic diver, operated Searsville Lake Park for 27 years.


Pam Wimberly is the winningest female high school basketball coach in California. Her Menlo-Atherton girls' teams have won 16 league and four Central Coast Section championships. Currently athletic director at M-A, she won the Women's Sports Foundation's Coach of the Year Award in 1995.


Russell Baze of Woodside has led the nation for seven years as the rider with the most wins in thoroughbred racing. He has won 400 or more races in 11 of the past 12 years, missing a period in 1999 when a back injury sidelined him for a month. His win total is 8,474, fourth highest in history.


Woodside High graduate John Nabor won four gold medals and one silver in the 1976 Olympics. The golds were for 100 backstroke, 200 backstroke, 4x100 medley relay, and 4x200 freestyle relay. At USC he was an NCAA swim champion for four years.


M-A graduates Greg Buckingham , left, and Dick Roth were both Olympic gold medalists in swimming. Roth won the gold for the 400 individual medley in the 1964 Olympics. Buckingham won in 1968 in the 800-meter freestyle relay. In 1990, Buckingham died of a heart attack at age 45.


Seven-footer Rich Kelley , who grew up in Ladera, played basketball at Woodside High and Stanford (where he graduated in 1975), and was the highest-ever NBA draft pick from the Peninsula. He played center for the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets and Sacramento Kings. He recently served on the Woodside Elementary school board.


Menlo Park native and M-A graduate Bob Melvin played for six Major League baseball teams from 1985 to 1994. He now manages the Seattle Mariners.


M-A graduate Trish King won the silver medal at the 1988 Olympics with a high jump of 6 feet 5 inches.


At Menlo School in the 1980s, John Paye played both football and basketball: In 1982, he was named USA Today high school football offensive player of the year; in 1983, he led the basketball team to a CCS title. He was a star quarterback at Stanford, and played briefly for the San Francisco 49ers.


Woodside High graduate Wendy Brown set a national high school record in the triple jump in 1984 with 42 feet, 10-1/2 inches. She attended USC and in 1985 triple-jumped 45 feet 2-1/2 inches. In 1988, she won the NCAA heptathlon -- a competition made up of seven events, including hammer and weight throws. The same year she participated in the Olympics in Korea, where she placed 13th in the heptathlon.

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