Trophies are conspicuously absent from the apartment. But by looking long and hard, you can discover one, or rather parts of one. It is the trophy Frederick got as "best athlete" in last season's Montreal indoor meet. The bowl now houses an impatiens plant, while the wood base has been carefully detached, turned upside down, had its plaque removed and now serves as a pot for a butterfly palm. Frederick has held onto one medal, however. It is the gold for the pentathlon at the 1975 World University Games in Rome. The victory had no great international significance, because the field was limited to college and graduate students, but that restriction is meaningful to Frederick. "I suppose it's not that big a deal," she says, "but school is tough. This medal says that within the classification of student-athletes I was the best."
The disposal restored, the sink back in order and a dinner of lamb chops and corn on the stove, Frederick pondered the matter of her continuing sublimation of academia to sport. "The pentathlon gives me a satisfaction that nothing in life has ever given me...except maybe school," she said. "But school is mind-oriented and I'm so physical. If I could have made a career out of professional sports, I would have. What else in life gives you an absolute measurement of where you stand and how much you've progressed?
"Sports, particularly the pentathlon in my case, is tantalizing. It tells you yes or it tells you no. And it tells you in such absolute terms. There is nothing so definite in life as that distance mark, that time, that height, that score."
And right now the goal in Jane Frederick's life is equally definite, 5,000 points, the first 5,000 points.