With the Olympic Games slated this summer, four Louisiana Olympians are coming to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum in Natchitoches, beginning Saturday afternoon, to share their memories and perspectives. Two-time Olympic high jump medalist Hollis Conway, a Shreveport-Fair Park product, is the first in the series of programs this Saturday, May 8, at 2 p.m. in the museum’s Atmos Energy Gallery. Admission is free. The museum is located facing the traffic circle at the north end of Front Street.
Still the American record holder in the event, Conway won a silver medal at the 1988 Games in Seoul and the bronze medal at the 1992 Barcelona Games. Conway won 10 USA championship titles (five outdoor, five indoor) and was ranked No. 1 in the world in 1990 and 1991. In 2004, he was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. His clearance of 7-10 ½ remains the American record and set a world record for the greatest height differential by a jumper. Conway is 6-foot tall, meaning he cleared over 22 inches above his head. The slender Shreveport native had 29 jumps of 7-8 or higher, and three of 7-10 or higher. He was America’s top-ranked high jumper for six straight years (1988-94).
After retiring from competitive track and field, Conway was a regional Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader for over a decade and a highly-sought inspirational speaker, traveling around the country and beyond for appearances. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum is bringing four world-class Olympians to the museum as part of a month-long lecture series called “Olympic Glory.” The program will inspire conversations about the role of sports in American culture and how the values of discipline, determination, sportsmanship, teamwork, respect, perseverance, and doing your personal best mirror the values necessary to achieve success in everyday life.
“Olympic Glory” is supported through a Rebirth Grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and the Friends of Louisiana Sports and History (FLASH). The four-part series will involve interviews between Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Chairman and FLASH president Doug Ireland and Conway, followed on May 15 by Bossier City boxer Tim Dement (1972 Munich Games). On May 22, Baton Rouge volleyball icon Danielle Scott (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics) is the featured guest.
The series concludes May 29 with Alexandria’s Warren Morris, the LSU baseball legend who medaled in the 1996 Atlanta Games a few weeks after hitting the walk-off home run giving the Tigers their 1996 College World Series championship. The Olympic Games, more than any other athletic competition, unite humanity while demonstrating cultural values that are both historic and part of American culture today.
Ingrained in our memories and cultural traditions, sports can serve as a bridge between people of diverse backgrounds as they work towards a common goal of victory for their community, team, and country. Coming from diverse backgrounds, athletes will share their personal stories and discuss how their participation in sports and the Olympics helped them develop the skills they needed to succeed in other aspects of life. This program is funded under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Recordings of each program will be posted on the Louisiana State Museum Facebook page and the Friends of Louisiana Sports and History Facebook page. For a complete schedule of museum events, check out the calendar at LouisianaState Museum.org.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, 800 Front Street, Natchitoches, is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays. Normal admission, not charged for programs like the Olympic Glory series, is $6 for adults, $5 for students, seniors, and active duty military, and free for children six and younger. For more information, visit LaSports Hall.com.