Olympic gold medal hopeful Simone Biles, widely considered the world’s greatest gymnast, has said she owes her success in no small part to her loving, supportive parents, Ron and Nellie Biles. read more on this story by radaronline.com here
I wonder if Simone would know who
Hartley Price was, or his tumbling tots founded in 1949. Mr Price was in large part responsible for making gymnastics the
popular sport it is today for many young people across the world. You can read all about the history in the book The spirit of gymnastics : the biography of Hartley D’Oyley Price I only know of this book as it was written by my step father Tomas O. Conkling.
For me I only know many things from the interaction that I had with my stepfather growing up. During my summer vacations I would visit with him and my mother in Tallahassee. Always having fun with some toy or another helicopters on the wire. Do you remember the rockets that shot pressurized water etc. Reflecting on this time of the Olympics and hearing how everyone is talking about gymnastics; with, everyone watching to see how things work out for Simone I began to think about these early years visiting my stepfather and all I learned from him.
I remember he worked for the State in a state office building, he would show me around and introduce me to his work friends in cubicles and offices that lined the outer walls. I also ended up working for the state for about six years in the same type building with cubicles and offices lining the outer walls. Tom Conkling also worked for the military as a Technical writer, I spent six years in military in technical field and later with defense department.
I can remember many meetings with Mr. Prices wife who was still alive as Tom was finishing up many years of work on his book about the life of Hartley D’Oyley Price it was fascinating in some ways to me at the age of 10-12 years to contemplate the writing of a book.
I also remember that Tom Conkling was always ready to answer a question of a young boy about anything really as long as a Indy car race or Yanky ball game was not on TV. He would show me books about the Indy cars and talk of the great 5 time winner of the “brickyard” aka Indy 500, AJ Foyt and all the heros of that time. Tom was great with all the details of fighter jets and would help me put together models of these and ships.
Funny how things come to mind over time the things that were once overlooked, that are now understood as a big part of my life and where I have been and how I was influenced at a young age.
Good luck Simone Biles, and read, on Amazon here “The Spirit of Gymnastics” give it a try and enjoy.