Olympian Lesley Bush shares gold at library

I’ve blogged previously about terrific customer interactions while staffing the Welcome Desk and have another to share. On Monday evening, while a colleague, Erica Bess was answering questions, she had the great opportunity to meet Olympic Gold Medalist, Lesley Bush, who won her gold medal in 1964 at the Tokyo games for platform diving. The bonus was that  Bush had the coveted first place medal with her! Thrilled to be in the right place at the right time, several staff members had the opportunity to chat with Bush about her experience and to hold the medal.

The medal is as heavy as one would expect with a Greek goddess on one side and a Greek Olympian scene on the other which was made especially for the Tokyo Olympics. The striped ribbon is frayed after years of being touched by former students of  Bush who were encouraged to wear the medal for a few moments. Bush enjoys sharing her medal with others rather than keeping it locked away. On Friday evening, Bush watched the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in the Community Room. To everyone’s surprise, she had her medal with her. What a treat for everyone in the room.

A Princeton High School student in 1964, Bush was honored with a town parade upon her return from the Olympics.The Princeton Packet highlighted the local athlete’s Olympic win and parade the following week.There are several articles and photos from the local paper which is part of the library’s microfilm collection. As a librarian, I couldn’t resist scrolling through the reel from 1964 to find the articles, which you are welcome to do too! 

Besides the microfilmed articles, recorded footage from Tokyo can be viewed on your computer. YourTownTube has a clip of Bush’s perfect Olympic dive, along with other athlete’s performances. The dive is about 48 seconds into the two minute clip. 

I’m grateful to Ms.Bush for sharing her Olympic story and medal with us. It was a pleasure to meet such a lovely person and to hold the medal for a moment. As I close, I wonder what the next exciting Welcome Desk moment will be.

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