In the spring of
1948, a 17-year-old Mathias competed in his first decathlon; four months later
he took gold in the event at the London Olympics. At the 1952 Games in Helsinki
he became the first decathlete to win back-to-back gold medals. The triumphs
sandwiched a football career at Stanford that was impressive enough to attract
the attention of the Redskins, who drafted him. Mathias passed up the
opportunity to play--instead he went to Hollywood and starred in The Bob
Mathias Story--but made it to Washington as a California congressman 14 years
about the first Iditarod, Butcher, whose two loves were animals and solitude,
moved from Fort Collins, Colo., to Anchorage, in 1975. She won the 1,157-mile
dogsled race 13 years later; by '90 she had four victories, more than all but
one musher. After her career Butcher, who died of leukemia, lived in an
abandoned gold mining camp in Eureka, Alaska, with her husband, two daughters
and 150 dogs.
A New Jersey
middle school teacher and solid family man, the Miz was the rare pool player
who didn't hustle--which was a good thing for other players. The peerless shot
maker won four U.S. Open pocket billiards championships in the early 1970s.
Later in the decade he became as recognizable to casual sports fans as he was
in the billiards world when he appeared in a Miller Lite commercial.
Although he broke
the color line in the old Big Seven conference as a catcher at Kansas State,
Woods didn't turn heads until 40 years later, when he claimed that his son,
Tiger, would, like Gandhi, "impact nations." It was brash, and led some
to see him as another pushy stage dad. He wasn't. Earl never forced the game on
his son, never made him practice. He just recognized greatness, and helped
In 1935, after
one unsatisfying season as a high school assistant, he was ready to give up
coaching. But then his former coach at TCU offered him a job as a North
Carolina assistant, and Vaught was back on track to a Hall of Fame career. In
1947 he took over at Ole Miss, where he stayed 24 years. His Rebels won six SEC
titles, and the '60 team, with Archie Manning at quarterback, claimed a share
of the national title.