Canton native Sandy Dukat is an American Paralympic athlete. On May 3, 1972, she was born in Canton with proximal femoral focal deficiency and at the age of four had her right leg amputated above the knee. Being an amputee did not stop her, though. She played basketball, high jumped and participated on the swim team at Timken High School.
In 1996, Dukat joined the swim team at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), and in 1997 she won 2 silver and 1 bronze medal at the USA National Championships. She was named to the US Disabled Swim Team in 1998 and at the World Swimming Championships that year, she broke the then S9 American record in the 800 meter freestyle event.
Skiing first appealed to Dukat in 1997. At the 2002 Winter Paralympics in Salt Lake City, she won two bronze medals for alpine skiing, and at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Turn she won one bronze medal. It was in 2004 at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships that Dukat won bronze medals in three separate events - downhill, giant slalom and the Super-G. She finished fifth overall in the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in the 2003-2004 season.
To keep active during the skiing off-season, Dukat started training for triathlons. In 2004 she won the Physically Challenged division of the Olympic distance St. Anthony’s triathlon and in 2004 she was named to the US Paralympic Triathlon Development Team. She won the Women’s Above Knee division of the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon National Championship in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2008 she became the World Champion in her classification and was named the USA Triathlon Paratriathlete of the Year. In 2009 she ran her first marathon and was the first female above-knee amputee to finish a marathon in less than five hours.
Ron Harris was a three-year boxing titlist in the AAU trials and in 1967 he won a Golden Gloves title. Joining the American Boxing team in 1968, Ron had dedicated each Olympic fight to a different family member. The night before the finals he called home and told his mom,
I've got one more thing to do. Mom, if I win the gold medal it’s for you. At the Olympic Games held in Mexico City, Ron won the Gold for Lightweight boxers and his USA team to mates brought home another gold medal, one silver and four bronze for boxing.
In 1971 he turned professional and remained undefeated until 1978. He retired in 1982. For his retirement, Harris opened a boxing school in New York City. One of his first students was Warren Miller, to he trained to win the Ohio State Golden Gloves in 1981.
Phil Hubbard graduated from Canton McKinley in 1975. In 1976, during his freshman year at the University of Michigan, he led his team to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament finals. In that same year, Hubbard won an Olympic Gold Medal as Team USA went 7 to 0. During his sophomore year at Michigan, he achieved All American honors.
After graduating from Michigan, he was drafted in the first round by the Detroit Pistons. He completed his playing career with the Cleveland Cavaliers and later worked for the New York Knicks, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Washington Wizards. The University of Michigan retired his jersey in 2004.
Born in Canton, Ohio on August 9, 1896, Larry Snyder graduated from The Ohio State University in 1925 winning the Western Conference Medal for scholarship and track achievements. Hired as Head Track Coach at Ohio State in 1932, he coached Jesse Owens, Glenn Davis, and Gene Albritton and led 15 athletes to Olympic medals - 10 of which were Olympic Gold.
As head coach of the 1960 Olympics in Rome, he led the U.S. Track team to four grand slams, sweeping four meets with three medals each. Jesse Owens said
He gets more out of you than you ever dreamed you had...at the Olympic Games, he had me so fired up I couldn't miss. Snyder was the head coach at Ohio State from 1932 to 1965. In 1978, Snyder was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Harry Steel was the first Ohio State wrestler to win the Olympic Gold Medal. Born in Stark County in 1899, he graduated from Canton McKinley High School in 1918. He lettered in football and wrestling at Ohio State. Leading his wrestling team to an undefeated season in 1921 and 1922, Steel served as Captain of the team and won the Western Conference Heavyweight Title in 1924.
Serving as an alternate in the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Steel won the Men's Heavyweight freestyle event. Steel has been inducted in the Helm's Hall of Fame for Amateur Athletics in Los Angeles, and in the Varsity O Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University. He is now listed among the World Champions in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Although born in Oklahoma, Jim Thorpe made his name through Pop Warner and the Carlisle School in Pennsylvania. In the 1912 Olympics, he won gold medals in both the decathlon and pentathlon. He played for the Canton Bulldogs and his team was unofficially the World Champions in 1916, 1917 and 1919. He was named the first President of the National Football League when it was organized in 1920. ABCs Wide World of Sports named him "Athlete of the Century" in 2000.
Born in Canton, Ohio, on August 7, 1950, Dave graduated from Lincoln High School in 1968. In 1970, while at Bowling Green State University, Wottle finished second in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 1-mile run and later tied the world record in the 800-meter dash in 1972. Also in 1972 he won the 1500 meter NCAA title and won the Olympic Gold for the 800-meter dash in Munich.
In 1973, he won the NCAA title in the mile run. An 8 time All American at Bowling Green State University, Wottle was honored by the university as an NCAA Post Graduate scholar. He has been Dean of Admissions at Rhodes College in Memphis since 1983 and is in the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame.