U-S-A , U-S-A is a familiar refrain heard in every Olympics, but truly it could be Wis-con-sin! Since pioneering hurdler Alvin Kraenzlein got his start here in the 1890s, the Badger State has nurtured, trained, or schooled more than 400 Olympic athletes in a vast array of sports. Wisconsin’s varied landscape and climate accommodate serious athletes whether they compete on ice, on snow, in the water, or on terra firma. We tend to bring a Midwestern work ethic to our endeavors, and our Olympians have often been hailed in the press and in public as being among the most humble and down-to-earth people around. Our state boasts a thriving youth sports culture where many homegrown athletes get their start; others are drawn here by our world-class universities, athletic facilities, and coaching talent. No matter how an athlete comes to Wisconsin, the state becomes part of his or her Olympic story. In Going for Wisconsin Gold, author Jessie Garcia provides insights into the lives of athletes who grew up or spent time in Wisconsin on their journey to the Olympic Games. She shares some of our competitors most captivating tales—from those that have become legend, like Dan Jansen’s heartbreaking falls and subsequent magical gold, to unlikely brushes with glory (do you know which Green Bay Packer was almost an Olympic high jumper?). Featuring the athletes’ personal stories, many of them told here in detail for the first time, plus pictures from their private collections, Going for Wisconsin Gold provides a new and deeper understanding of the sacrifices, joy, pain, heartbreak, and complete dedication it takes to reach the world’s grandest sporting competition.
About the Author
Award winning sportscaster Jessie Garcia has been covering Wisconsin athletes and Olympians since 1992, first at WISCTV in Madison and then at WTMJTV in Milwaukee. Garcia was one of the first women in the country to host an NFL coach’s show and served as the Green Bay Packers’ sideline reporter. Garcia’s work has also appeared on Milwaukee Public Radio and in several newspapers and magazines. A Madison native, she teaches journalism at two universities in Milwaukee. Her memoir My Life with the Green and Gold: Tales from 20 Years of Sportscasting was published by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
Garcia has skillfully woven the Olympic glories into the stories behind the stories, the years of training, the switching of sports, disappointments and the return to normalcy. (Jim Gallen, Reviewer, August 25, 2016)