Posts tagged ‘John Lucas’

Thinking of John Lucas During the Olympics

We profiled John Lucas in the magazine back in 1996.

I loved the Olympics well before I showed up at Penn State and wandered into a minor in sport history. But I didn’t fully appreciate the power of the Games until I met John Lucas.

Lucas ’70g, a professor in what was way-back-when called “exercise and sport science,” spent decades at Penn State combining his two loves—scholarship and the Olympics. He also told terrific stories, and he reeled off hilarious one-liners, made all the more funny because he was so serious as he uttered them.

Few things made him madder than the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics; Lucas truly believed that Olympism is a force for good, and he didn’t think politicians and heads of state should interfere with it. He was proud to have been one of a handful of Americans in Moscow that year. “Mr. Jimmy Carter,” he intoned one day in class, “he did not tell me that I could not go to Moscow.” He paused, injecting a little drama. Lucas loved a little extra drama. “So I went to Moscow.” Another pause. “Mr. Jimmy Carter, he could not stop me.”

Somehow, in his formal lecture voice, he made it sound like he and Mr. Jimmy Carter had settled the matter in a physical confrontation. I had no doubt that had it come to blows, Lucas would have prevailed. So what if he had the slight frame of a distance runner? I couldn’t imagine what (more…)

August 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm 5 comments


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