Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Grace Napolitano: 1936—: Politician to Richard (Wayne) Peck (1934-) Biography - Career » Derek Parra: 1970—: Athlete Biography - Raced For Food, Trained On World's Fastest Ice, Landmark Win—both National And Personal

Derek Parra: 1970—: Athlete - Landmark Win—both National And Personal

february times told news

Parra's gold that day was the 20th medal for the U.S. Olympic team at the Salt Lake Games, a number that the U.S. Olympic officials had deemed its goal (the U.S. team would eventually finish with 34 in all). Parra was thrilled that his he told New York Times writer Edward Wong. At the starting line, he continued, "I saw her up in the stands, and I told her before the race that I love her. Out of all the crowd, I could see her face there. It was really uplifting, because we've been away for so long. We see each other only every two months."

Parra surprised many a few days later on February 22, when he finished in twelfth place in the 10,000-meter men's speedskating contest. "I was hoping to have a good race and finish on a good note, but I'm tired," he said at a press conference afterward. "The 10K, it was just way out of reach, even going into this race, more than the 5K was…. I just didn't feel technically sound and was not too efficient in the first 5,000 (of the 10,000), and I started fatiguing and overheated." Uytdehaage took another gold medal for his first-place finish in this event. Still, Parra was pleased at his overall performance, noting that a gold and silver each "are just beyond what was probably possible," a Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service report by Charean Williams quoted him as saying. "It was something I dreamed, but to actually have it in my hand and realize the dream is unbelievable." Even his older brother was impressed. As Gilbert Parra told Romano, the St. Petersburg Times columnist, "When he was little, he wanted to be like his older brother. Now I want to be like him."

Parra was upbeat about his future plans, and admitted to some realistic goals regarding his future in the sport. "My Williams quoted him as saying. He was also looking forward to paying a visit to his former school, Roosevelt Elementary, in San Bernardino, and speaking to students who use roller- or inline skates on the same streets he did. "Mexican-Americans can reach for their goals," Parra asserted to Oberjuerge in a report that appeared in the Daily News. "Growing up in Southern California, I would have never even dreamed of being in a Winter Olympics sport, the sport of giants." He was also proud to have bested other world-class skaters who had the luxury of training full-time because of generous government support. His win, he told the Grand Rapids Press, "shows that a working-class man can be at the top of the podium, or on the podium."



Austin American-Statesman, February 10, 2002, p. C1.

Capital Times (Madison, WI), February 20, 2002, p. 1C.

Daily News (Los Angeles), February 10, 2002.

Grand Rapids Press (Grand Rapids, MI), February 20, 2002, p. C4.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, March 9, 2001; February 11, 2002; February 22, 2002.

New York Times, February 19, 2002; February 20, 2002; February 21, 2002.

St. Petersburg Times, February 20, 2002, p. 1C.


U.S. Speedskating, http://www.usspeedskating.org (February 27, 2002).

—Carol Brennan

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