Amateur and Professional Athletes Feted in Exhibit

Uniforms, baseball bats, footballs, photographs, and trophies from amateur, collegiate, and professional athletes are featured in a lobby display at the Museum of Church History and Art.

The exhibit, titled “Wearing the Victor’s Crown,” highlights a few of more than one hundred Latter-day Saints who have participated in Olympic sports, along with professional and amateur athletes who exemplified excellence in both physical and spiritual accomplishments.

Opened this week to support Salt Lake City’s hosting of the Olympic events, the display celebrates character traits such as integrity, self-discipline, and endurance learned by those who participate in various sports activities. The exhibit continues through April 14, 2002.

The exhibit notes the accomplishments of Corey Engen in bringing national attention to Utah winter sports and his involvement in the Winter Olympic Games in 1948. Also documented are several other Scandinavian pioneers in the state’s winter sporting events.

Olympic participants Marv Melville, who appeared twice in downhill skiing events; Barbara Day Lockhart, a two-time participant in speed skating; Jean Saubert, who won silver and bronze medals in slalom events; and Peter Vidmar, gold and silver award winner in gymnastics, are represented with uniforms, photographs, Olympic medals, and other awards.

Several athletes who have excelled in professional sports loaned memorabilia for the special exhibit, including quarterback Steve Young of the San Francisco ’49ers; Atlanta Braves baseball player Dale Murphy; defensive lineman Merlin Olsen; and Danny Ainge, who played baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays and basketball with the Boston Celtics.

Brigham Young University football coach LaVell Edwards loaned the autographed 1984 NCAA national championship football for the display.

Memorabilia from the Deseret Gym fills another display case. Illustrating Church sports programs are sports uniforms, trophies, and other objects from New Zealand, Mexico, Canada, Australia, South Dakota, and Utah.

“Physical activity strengthens the mind and the spirit as well as our bodies,” according to exhibit curator Mark Staker. “We learn to refine our characters as well as keep our bodies fit.”

These are among the reasons, he added, that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has sponsored and encouraged participation in healthy recreational activities. “Latter-day Saints admire those who do especially well in athletics,” Staker said, “while remembering that each of us has the opportunity to enjoy our own successes.”

Those successes include participation of recreational athletic events sponsored by local Church units, as well as collegiate and professional sports, Staker said.

The exhibit can be seen in the entrance foyer of the Museum, located at 45 North West Temple, one-half block north of the Temple Square TRAX station. Hours during the Olympics are 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Beginning February 25, the Museum will return to regular hours, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and most holidays. For exhibit information call 801-240-3310.


2001 Meridian Magazine.  All Rights Reserved.