Olympic Tree Brings Back Poignant Memories

first_imgA tree is a great way to remember an event like the Olympics. A living, growing treehelps refocus fading memories.Trees represent a renewing of life over generations and an investment in the future.Tree planting can mark the passage of time and great events and accomplishments.One particular tree’s life marks many things, including the Olympics. On the Universityof Georgia campus, just southwest of Stegeman Coliseum, grows a small tree with a roundedcrown. Planted in 1936, the German oak (Quercus robur) is native to centralGermany.In the forests where it grows, the German oak is wide-spreading and broad. German oakscan grow to more than 100 feet tall. The leaves have six to 10 lobes, are roughlythree-by-five inches and are similar to our American white oak (Quercus alba). Theacorns are fairly large and dangle from long stems.In 1936 the Olympic Games were in Berlin. The city, stadium and other venues were awashin the harsh banners of fascism. The National Socialist party had been brought to powerthree years earlier by Adolf Hitler, who saw the Olympics as a way to show cultural andracial superiority to the world.The German oak grows across Europe. Every country where it grows calls it by thatcountry’s name — French oak, Italian oak, Austrian oak and Spanish oak.Here in the United States and in the South, the most common name is English oak.Regardless of its common name, the tree is large, strong and beautiful.The massive size and strength of this native oak symbolized for Hitler the greatness ofthe “Fatherland.” Olympic winners were given a small German oak as well as theOlympic medals.The Olympic athletes carried these young oaks back to the far reaches of the world.Most of the trees didn’t survive.In Georgia, German oak has a hard time growing. Many pests attack it. But by far theworst problems are the warm winters and occasional spring freezes. German oak doesn’t godeep into dormancy during our winters and then tends to grow much too early in spring.Frost is always damaging it.German oak doesn’t handle the hot summer well, either — especially our warm nights.Several plantings in Georgia have died or had to be removed because of growth problems. Atree growing poorly and under constant stress is ripe for attack by many pests and can’trespond well to damage.The German oak on the University of Georgia campus is the tree given to Forrest Towns,who was the university’s first Olympic gold medal winner. Mr. Towns held the world recordin the 110-meter high hurdles for 12 years. For 37 years, he coached track for theBulldogs.The German oak on campus symbolizes many things to the university community. Asmemories fade, the tree grows and reminds us of the Olympic spirit of athletic endeavorsand excellence. The rich green tree reminds us of the man and his accomplishment. Mr.Towns passed away in 1991.Sadder times are caught up in those dark green leaves, too. A few years after hisvictory in Berlin, Mr. Towns lost his brother in the European theater of World War II. Atree lives to help us remember.Maybe you should plant a tree to commemorate your own Olympic experiences.last_img read more

Sojourner Truth provides Beckford with first winner

first_imgONeil Beckford, one of 17 apprentice riders who graduated from the Jockeys’ School in September of last year, rode his first winner when 4-1 chance SOJOURNER TRUTH romped the eighth race for $180,000 conditional claimers over the straight five course at Caymanas Park yesterday. A past student of Tacius Golding High in St Catherine, Beckford, 26, could not hide his glee when he passed the post first aboard his 58th ride, standing tall in the saddle with his whip hand raised high in celebration. Having secured three rides on the 10-race programme, Beckford said that he was looking forward to his first winner in SOJOURNER TRUTH, especially when it was learnt that the hot ante-post favourite, BARS OF GOLD, was a late non-starter. “She had shown improved form in her last two races, and with Bars of Gold out, I knew this was a golden opportunity for me to finally win a race. SOJOURNERTRUTH usually runs her best races over the straight when fully fit, and she delivered today by three lengths,” he explained. SOJOURNER TRUTH is owned by All-Stars Pro and trained by Paul Hylton. The 8-y-o bay mare by Skipping out of Augus Mawnin was winning her first race in well over a year. Beckford, who is apprenticed to veteran trainer Vin Edwards, thus became the 12th graduate from the last batch to ride a winner. Looking ahead, the young rider said he would work even harder to maintain his weight (51.0kg) and establish himself as a go to claiming apprentice. Meanwhile, BRAVE PROSPECT, running as the 2-1 second favourite, ran on strongly to beat long-time leader and 3-2 favourite FRANKENSTORM by three lengths in the Millard Ziadie Memorial Cup feature over 1100 metres. The 4-y-o colt by Seeking The Glory out of the 1999 derby winner Good Prospect, was ridden by Kerry-Gayle Robinson for in-form trainer Neive Graham and leading owner O’Shaun Connection. Eleven ran. – O.C.last_img read more

Golf tournament to play through Valencia again

first_imgThe agreement between AT&T and the Valencia Country Club, where the Champion’s Classic has been hosted since 2001, expires next year. “We won’t get into 2009 until we have further discussions with the PGA,” Fitzgerald said. But Fitzgerald said conditions of the Valencia course, as well as the support of the community, were tough for other contenders to match. “I hope you know how good this course is,” Fitzgerald said. “I would stack this course up against any other professional course.” Jim Fitzsimmons, general manager of Valencia Country Club, said the club has developed a solid relationship with tour organizers and players. “We have built camaraderie between the players and the members, and we are excited to think they will be here for another year,” Fitzsimmons said. Fitzsimmons noted that the course hosted the PGA’s Nissan Open in 1998 and would be open to another Professional Golf Association event, but he said the Champion’s event is a nice fit for now. “The PGA, that’s always of interest, but we have settled into a comfortable relationship with the Champion’s event,” Fitzsimmons said. “It really feels like family.” Mayor Marsha McLean was admittedly excited about the tour’s return and its economic potential for the city. The tour generated $8.3million for the city last year, and it could bring in even more this year. “We are always striving to be a destination city,” McLean said. “We couldn’t be happier to be chosen again as the host city for such a prestigious event.” But the real winners of the decision will be the local charities who reap the fundraising benefits of the pro-am tournament. Each amateur foursome pays $7,000 for the opportunity to play with a professional. This year’s tour includes 16-time PGA champ Mark Morae, as well as Tom Kite, defending his 2006 title. They are vying for this year’s title and top prize of $240,000. Competitive play starts today and continues through Sunday. [email protected] (661)257-5254160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! VALENCIA – Impressed by the pristine golf course, top-notch staff and supportive community, AT&T Champion’s Classic officials announced Thursday the senior golf event will return to Santa Clarita in 2008. No other course really had a chance, said Brian Fitzgerald, executive director of the Champion’s Classic. “I firmly believe this course is in the top two or three clubs in the Champion’s tour,” Fitzgerald said. “This course is exactly what we are looking for.” last_img read more