If you stayed up late enough Monday night, you were able to watch Jenn Stuczynski earn the silver medal in women's pole vault at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which allows you to participate in the "water cooler" discussions that seemed to ensue thereafter.
The Fredonia Olympic Celebration Committee reconvened Tuesday evening to discuss future honors for the Fredonia pole vaulter, and the conversation quickly turned to the somewhat bitter taste of comments heard from her coach, Rick Suhr, after her victory on broadcast television.
"I guess my feeling is, she's our favorite daughter and he has no business talking to our favorite daughter that way," Mayor Michael Sullivan said with a smile on his face. "It's one thing if you're a coach and you're in preparation for a jump that's about to happen. At this point it was over, and there's plenty of time to recap what went wrong if there was something that went wrong."
OBSERVER Photo by Michael Rukavina
A preliminary design of a banner to be hung across Temple Street in honor of pole vaulter Jenn Stuczynski.
The conversation between Stuczynski and her coach has sparked the creation of numerous blogs on the Internet, and was the topic of conversation during some sports talk shows Tuesday.
"I'm not a coach, I don't know the psychology, but it really put a bad taste on a lot of feelings that a lot of people had going into this thing," Sullivan said. "Where you have a coach that spots talent and in four years gets her to the Olympics finishing with a silver medal, and to have all of that positive stuff come down to a stupid one minute outlash ... maybe they talk in code."
Suhr's comments were not going to keep the Olympic Celebration committee down. Plans are in the works for a banner to be hung across Temple Street in honor of Jenn, along with the dedication of a new flag pole and plaque. The board discussed flag pole options and is looking into a stainless steel model that would sit at least 20 feet high.
A letter is going to be sent to the village of Fredonia trustees asking that the pole be placed in Barker Common, near the information booth. To do so the village first needs to be granted permission from the New York State Historical Preservation Office.
Preliminary talks of a parade with a dinner at a large venue to follow, with Jenn as the guest of honor, is also in the works. The committee will speak via e-mail, until there is an official time announced of when Jenn will be available and back home in Fredonia.