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Central Minnesota Has Strong Ties to Summer Olympics

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The Games of the XXX Olympiad start on July 27th in London, England.  Stearns County is fortunate enough to have two women competing this year — Alise Post of St. Cloud is in the BMX bike competition and Amanda Smock of Melrose will be in Track and Field’s Triple Jump.

You might be surprised to learn that this area has had quite a few Olympians over the years.  Here’s a list of the people we’ve discovered:

Anne Govednik Van Steinburg – 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, and 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany.  She was on the U.S. Swimming team.  Anne graduated from St. Cloud State University in 1939.

Van Nelson – 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico.  He competed in the 10,000 meter run on the U.S. Track and Field team.  Nelson was an 11-time All-American for St. Cloud State University.

David and James Hazewinkel – 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico, and 1972 Olympics in Munich Germany.  The were members of the U.S. Wrestling team.  Both David and James are graduates of St. Cloud State University.

John Peterson – 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany and 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada.  Peterson won a gold medal in wrestling in 1976 and a silver medal in 1972.  He is an assistant wrestling coach at SCSU.

Carol Peterka – 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in team handball.  She’s from St. Cloud and a graduate of Apollo High School.

Toni Jameson - 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in team handball.  She was a St. Cloud State basketball player.  Toni Jameson partnered with Peterka in 1992, and she partnered with her twin sister Tami in 1996.

Ron Backes – 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.  Backes was a member of the U.S. Track and Field team competing in Shot Put.  Backes is a 1981 graduate of ROCORI High School.

Matt Schnobrich – 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.  Schnobrich won a bronze medal as part of the U.S. Men’s eight boat rowing team.  He’s a 2001 graduate of St. John’s University.

This is a list of athletes with local ties that we’ve found so far.  This also just the list of athletes who have competed in the Summer Olympics.

If you know any other local athletes from Central Minnesota that have competed in past Summer Olympics, please let us know about them and we’ll add them to our list.

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