Hearing a speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy, in which he talked about the need for the nation to become more physically fit, unleashed the competitor in Rebecca Dunning Switzer as an asthmatic young girl.
"The Presidential Physical Fitness Tests were implemented in many schools across the country; I remember most everyone in my class working diligently to excel on test day in order to receive a fitness award," Switzer said. "I loved the challenge of bettering my test scores and oddly enough my grades improved as well."
Her seventh-grade physical education teacher introduced her to gymnastics, and the rest is history.
"Gymnastics was my ticket to …