Athletes you never heard of...

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by CWT 3000, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. CWT 3000

    CWT 3000 Walk On

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,986
    I use the word athlete loosely here. I’d like to hear your stories of an athlete, competitive racer, X gamer, et cetra; who has had an impact on his or her sport that maybe not everyone has heard of.

    My story is about Tim Richmond

    I am a huge racing fan- what can I say I like fast cars and my women fasterJ, but I digress. I had never heard of Tim Richmond until the other night when I saw ESPNs 30 for 30 about him. I wasn’t old enough at the time to appreciate his impact on the sport, but his story was absolutely impressive. Richmond was one of the first open wheel drivers to cross over to stock car competition full-time. He won the 1980 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year award. Richmond achieved his greatest success during the 1986 season where he finished 3rd in points, but won seven races that season, more than any other driver on the tour.

    After 1986 his life took a turn for the worse. When he missed the season-opening Daytona 500 in February 1987 the media reported that he had pneumonia. The infection most likely resulted from a weakened immune system, which had been weakened by AIDS. The disease would drastically shorten his life. Despite the state of his health, Richmond competed in eight races in 1987, winning two events and one pole before his final race in August of that year. He attempted a comeback in 1988 before NASCAR banned him for testing positive for a banned substance; after NASCAR insisted on access to his entire medical record before reinstating, Richmond withdrew from racing. NASCAR later on stated their original test was inaccurate. In 1990, a few months after Richmond's death, Washington television station WJLA-TV and Reporter Roberta Baskin reported that Dr. Forest Tennant, who was at that time the National Football League's drug adviser, "falsified drug tests" that ultimately helped shorten Richmond's NASCAR career. Baskin reported that sealed court documents and interviews showed Tennant and NASCAR used "allegedly false drug-test results in 1988 to bar Richmond from racing". Baskin also stated that NASCAR had targeted Richmond, requesting that Tennant establish a substance-abuse policy with Richmond in mind. A series of drug tests and falsely reported positive results shortly before the 1988 Daytona 500 kept Richmond from driving in what was to have been his last big race.

    Richmond excelled at sports; he set a conference record in high hurdles and his high school football career was stellar enough that the academy he attended retired his sports jersey after his gridiron days were over.

    He never admitted to having AIDS, but two weeks after his death his family confirmed what everyone else had been speculating; Tim died from complications of AIDS. No one is sure when he became infected, but it’s widely known that he was infected by a female sexual encounter. It was a secret he didn’t want NASCAR to find out about. It’s sad that in the prime of his career he was taken away at the age of 34 years old.

    If you ever have a chance, read or watch the story on this guy. There isn’t enough room for me to write about all his trials and tribulations to do him justice. Once this story ends another begins, which begs the question; should athletes with AIDS be allowed to compete?

    Tim Richmond 1955-1989

    References
    ESPN 30 for 30 Tim Richmond: Too the Limit. ESPN. Retrieved 10-21-2010
    Wikipedia: Tim Richmond. Retrived10-21-2010
     
  2. sibellius

    sibellius Too legit to quit

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Messages:
    666
    Just saw the 30 for 30 on him the other night. I'm not a NASCAR fan but he seemed like the kind of guy that would have drawn me to watch. Every time he was put on the spot about his illness, you could see in his eyes how hard it was for him to try to explain it away and convince everyone that everything was going to go back to normal when he knew that it wasn't.
     

Share This Page