Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reigning Champ Willing to Discuss the Discus

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Reigning Champ Willing to Discuss the Discus

Article excerpt

Charmaine Sobkowski returned the favor.

Four years back, Sobkowski entered her first St. Louis Senior Olympics. Then, old-hand Florence Berry showed newcomer Sobkowski how to throw the discus. Since, Sobkowski has gone on to set a national record of 85 feet, 6 inches in the 55-59 women's division and win a gold medal at the 1993 National Senior Olympics.

On Wednesday, after Sobkowski spun lithely over the discus circle to claim the gold medal at the St. Louis Senior Olympics with a toss of 79 feet, 7 1/2 inches, Aileen McComas sidled over to congratulate Sobkowski. McComas got the silver with a first-time effort of 51 feet, 3 1/2 inches.

"Got a minute to show me how to do that?" McComas asked, smiling. They sauntered over to the sidelines.

That was just one of many heartwarming moments Wednesday as the 15th St. Louis Senior Olympics wound down at the Jewish Community Centers Association.

At a dinner and closing ceremony Wednesday night, the inaugural Helen Stephens Award was to be bestowed on 82-year-old Marie Uebel of Brentwood for exuding the "winning spirit and athletic excellence" of the former Olympian. Stephens, who died Jan. 17, won the gold medal in the 100-meters at the 1936 Olympics.

Once again, the day's competitions showed that age is not an obstacle. Among the other age-defying feats at the track at Mary Institute-Country Day School:

The fabulously fit Leon Fennell, 61, of St. Louis, hotfooted around the track in the 5K run in a time of 19 minutes, 19 seconds.

The dogged Jack Frohlichstein, 65, of University City, finished the 5K, though it took him 36 minutes, 49 seconds to do it.

The resilient Harry Kublin, 75, of St. Louis, had his second open heart surgery less than a year ago but ran in four events.

And the 85-year-old Paul McDowell, of Webster Groves, set national records for his age group in the running long jump (9 feet, 0 1/4 inch) and the 100-meter dash (20.4). "There's not much competition," he said, laughing.

Sobkowski, 58, of Edwardsville, was another story. …

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