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Cathy Rigby never had much spending money, and she never dared ask for more than a couple of dollars when she left on trips. She made money baby-sitting and saved her $3 per diem so she could buy Christmas presents. One year she returned from Japan with a 36-piece china set for her parents. She hand-carried it so that it would not break. Paul Rigby was hired by North American last April.
Cathy likes reading short stories. The only novel she has ever read is The Godfather. "I read mostly Psycho-type stories with endings that I don't expect," she says. Her favorite TV show is Twilight Zone. She used to enjoy monster movies but now finds them too unrealistic. "Now I like scary movies, like Wait Until Dark," she says. She prefers folk music over rock, but currently her favorite song is Roberta Flack's The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. "I'm sentimental," she says.
"She sells herself short on her scholastic ability," says Mrs. Rigby. "She has read a lot of mythology."
Cathy gets fan mail and phone calls every day. Recently, her mother answered the phone and was asked by a young man in Texas, "Would Cathy answer me if I wrote to her?"
"She is able to keep her mind free of worries," says Doug Mead. "She doesn't get upset if she is given a lower score than she deserves." "I have my next event to worry about," says Cathy. "I feel they have underscored me as often as they have overscored me."
"She does not show happiness or sadness," says Mrs. Rigby. "She is not an extrovert and has trouble expressing herself. You can only tell how she feels by looking at her eyes. [Her eyes are brown though she is often described as a blue-eyed blonde.] The SCATs used to have a clown act in their exhibition shows. One year Cathy was put in it, but you could tell she didn't like it. So they had to take her out of it."
Mrs. Rigby says the happiest day in her daughter's life was when she won the silver medal at the World Games. "She sent us a cable," Mrs. Rigby says. "It read, "Have won second place on beam, the silver medal for the U.S. and you.' "
Unlike many of her teammates, Cathy Rigby does not travel with a mascot in her tote bag. "Bud has a little doll that looks like a preacher," she says. "He shows it to me every time before I compete. But I feel the more you practice, the luckier you get."
"Cathy can do 50 beam routines before big audiences and never fall," says Marquette. However, if she did fall, he would not be there to see it. He has not watched a beam event since she became known as a beam specialist. "I don't enjoy that particular event," he says. "One fall and all that work down the drain. It makes me go tutti-frutti."
In 1968 Mr. and Mrs. Rigby traveled to Mexico City to watch Cathy in the Olympics. Mrs. Rigby had to be carried by her husband and an usher to her seat. "I cried all through the bar routine," she says. "I knew she wouldn't do her sommie, because she had nothing going, and she didn't do it."