If your family is like mine, when it’s time for the Olympics, either winter or summer, we are glued to the TV set. The rest of the year we never watch sports on television, but when the Olympics are on, we are junkies.
Did you remember that Burbank High had an Olympic medalist? According to the Burbank High Centennial book, “no athlete has brought more fame and pride to Burbank High than two-time Olympic gold medal swimmer Cathy Ferguson (BHS’66). While just a junior at BHS, Cathy won gold in the 100 meter backstroke and the 400 medley relay at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.” Cathy’s exceptional career included 5 world records, 10 American records and national titles.
While doing research for this post, I found a fascinating article called “One Olympic dream that’s come full circle,” which told the story of Cathy and the competition with her rival, Sharon Finneran. They both became Olympic teammates and won medals: Cathy got two golds and Sharon came home with a silver. They thought that after Tokyo, their paths would never cross again, but forty-four years later (2008) it turns out their daughters were both competing for spots on the Olympic diving team. And so the rivalry was re-ignited.
Cathy was in the news just a couple of days ago, when she spoke to the Southern Sierra Boys and Girls Club and gave this simple message:
“Anybody can do it,” Ferguson said. “You have to work hard and find people who can help you.”
Cathy’s brother, John Ferguson, was in our Class of 1968!
You can relive the moment that Cathy won the Gold medal here: