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Paly Olympians


Paly Olympians - 10-21-17 at Grand Opening of Peery Family Athletic Center

From left, Sean Nolan '90  (water polo 2000 Olympics), Suzy Jones Roy '66 (swimming 1968 Olympics), Lily Zhang '14 (table tennis 2012 and 2016 Olympics) and Rink Babka '54 (silver medal in discus, 1960 Olympics.)


Sue Blatt Cowdery (Paly '71) daughter of  Bob Blatt, Paly '40, and Michael Blatt, son of John "Boots" Blatt, Paly '42, attended a mini-ceremony on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 where their fathers were added to the Paly Olympians display.  The Blatt brothers were on the 1948 Olympic ski team.  Bob Blatt was also on the 1940 Olympic team, however, the Olympics were cancelled because of WW II.



                                     Lily                                        Zhang



                                   Paly Class of 2014






2012, 2016 & 2020 Olympian* - Table Tennis - Paly's first, three-time Olympian

2012 First Round

2016 Third Round
My time at Paly will forever hold a meaningul and memorable place in both my table tennis career and my heart.  I remember traveling almost monthly for competitions from my freshman year forward, and found a never-ending support system from the school. The administration, teachers along with my peers provided all the help and resources for me to train and travel to competitions while pursuing the classes and learning materials that I wanted. There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn't be where I am today without this incredible school.  I will continue to be eternally grateful for Paly's full support in encouraging me to follow my dreams.

*Although the 2020 competition took place in 2021, it was officially considered the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.




Paly Class of 1990

2000 Olympian

Water Polo - Sixth Place 


                                                                                     UC BERKELEY

Sean, a goalie, was a member of the USA Senior National team from 1994-2000, competing in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. A three-time All-American (1992-1994) at UC Berkeley (CAL) Nolan graduated in 1993 with a degree in political economies of industrial societies.  He led the Bears to NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992 including making two mach-saving blocks at the end of regulation in the ’71 title match against Stanford.  The 1992 NAA championship match is considered by many to be the greatest title match in NCAA water polo history as Cal won 12-11 in sudden-victory to preserve a perfect 31-0 record. At Paly Sean was name a first-team All-American his senior year after winning the CCS Championship for the first time in school history.





      Mark Schultz

         Paly Class of 1978

             1984 & 1988 Olympian





Dave Schultz, left with brother Mark Schultz compare medals at the1984 Olympics

Wrestling: Gold Medal 1984, 82 kg (181 lbs)

1981, 1982, 1983 NCAA Champion

1982 NCAA Tournament Outstanding Wrestler

1985 World Chamionships: Gold, 82 kg

1987 World Championships: Gold, 82 kg

Colleges: UCLA (one year); U. of Oklahoma (three years) 





Paly Class of 1977

1984 Olympian 

Wrestling Gold Medal: 74 kg (163 lbs)





                            Oklahoma State and U. of Oklahoma 


                                                                                                    (L-R)  Dave and Mark when both were assistant coaches at Stanford (1985)

"My brother was a saint," Dave Schultz told the San Jose Mercury News in 2010. "He was the greatest ambassador that the wrestling world has ever known.  It didn't matter what country you were from.  If you were a wrestler, you were his friend. It's amazing how many lives Dave touched.  Wrestling will never see someone like Dave Schultz again.  He was one of a kind."





                Terri Baxter-Smith

                                              Paly Class of 1982


           1980 Olympian - 100 and 200 meter breaststroke

                        (U.S. Boycotted Moscow Olympics)








The highlight of Terri’s 20-yr swimming career was qualifying for the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team In both the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke.  As a high school varsity swimmer, she won the Central Coast Section Championship and breaking the CCS record in the 100 breaststroke and 200 individual medley in 1981.  Terri was named “Most Outstanding Varsity Swimmer from 1978 – 1982.  She attended Arizona State University on a full swimming scholarship where she was a three-time NCAA All-American in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 and 400 medley relays.  In 1987 she represented the U.S. at the Pan American Games and won a bronze medal in the 100 meter breaststroke. 



     Suzy Jones Roy

            Paly Class of 1966

                1968 Olympian


 100 Meter Breaststroke: 10th

200 Meter Breaststroke: Alternate

400 Meter Medley Relay: Swam breaststroke in preliminary heats for U.S. Gold-medal winning team

World Record: 110 yard breaststroke, 1966


                                                                                                    USC, UCLA   

Suzy (Susan) Jones Roy is a Palo Alto native and feels she was born in the right town at the right time for a competitive swimming career. The nearby famous Santa Clara Swim Club with Coach George Haines spurred her on to make the Olympic team on her second try in 1968.  Suzy’s swimming career took place pre--Title IX before there were high school or intercollegiate sports competitions for women so she did not compete in swimming at Paly.  She became a trail-blazer forging the way for future women athletes to have equal opportunitites in sports as the men. 






                         Ron Larrieu

         Paly Class of 1956


                1964 Olympian -10,000 meters




1965 AAU Cross-Country Championships -- NYC, November 27, 1965.  

                       He won the championship again in 1966

Nothing but fond memories.  It was my good fortune when Dad moved our family from San Francisco to “Mayfield Township” in 1946.  Palo Alto still had a small town feeling.  The large open tracts of land adjacent to Mayfield made it almost country; a marvelous place for a nine-year-old to grow up.  Paly High brought me together with Coach Forrest Jamieson.  It was the perfect storm.  He molded me into a successful runner, starting me down the road toward bigger accomplishments.  Had our family remained in The City, it’s not likely Ron Larrieu, the runner would have ever existed. 




Rink Babka

Paly Class of 1954


           1960 OLYMPIAN 

                     DISCUS: SILVER MEDAL   

                       WORLD RECORD: 1960   


                                                                                                  MENLO COLLEGE, USC                                 

                                                                                                                                                 Rink at Olympic Trials - 1960, Stanford University

                                                                   THAT TEAR - by Rink A. Babka

     That Tear – is priceless to acquire.  The prerequisites are few but demand conviction, courage and commitment.

     That Tear – has a vision:  The view of the dream of excellence and the focus of hard work and demanding improvement.

    That Tear – you see from the eye of the Olympian is in fact the True Spirit of the Games, never to be seen any place   else. No other sport or assembly can claim it.  Only a camera can capture it.

     That Tear- may be irrelevant to others since they cannot buy it. Only the Olympian has earned it. This true expression from the perfection, pride and privilege of dedication to have struggled, knowing they had done their best at that moment in time.  The entry fee is free.

     That Tear – in fact is the Olympic experience.  The spirit of the lasting reminder of one’s wonder of their inner self; both   collectively with one’s soul and the Olympic Flame that will never burn out.

     That Tear – the spirit of true emotion will be with the Olympian for life.  That is God’s gift – a greater gift than the medal     itself.

























































The 1924 & 1920 Olympians






  Paly Class of 1914

          Rugby Union Team: Gold

          Track - Long Jump: Fourth Place




DINK TEMPLETON (right) with Rink Babka at a 1959 track meet

Rink remembers Dink Templeton: "I used to walk by Dink Templeton's home on my way to Paly. That's how it got started."  (Templeton was track coach at Stanford from 1924-39 and continued to coach other future Olympians).  "He saw the potential in me.  One day after I was pitching in a baseball game, he grabbed me by the shirt and took me to the track.  I won shot put that day.  He was a mentor.  I owe a whole lot to him."


                                                   MORRIS KIRKSEY   



Paly Class of 1913

100 Meter - Silver 

4 x 100 Relay - Gold




                                                                                     1920 Olympics -  Antwerp, Belgium - Morris Kirksey, far right wins silver medal 



   Kirksey was a staff psychologist with the

   State Department of Corrections for 25 years

   working at San Quentin and Folsom prisons





Paly Class of 1912   

           110 Meters - Bronze 












Feg Murray was a syndicated cartoonist mainly drawing atheletes and entertainers.  He was best known for his "Seein' Stars" column spotlighting Hollywood stars.  



                   JOHN K. NORTON




   Paly Class of 1912

   400 Meter Hurdles: Silver

   440 Yard Hurdles: 1920 World Record 






              John K. Norton winning the Low Hurdles at Stanford 1915-1916

John K. Norton served as an Army officer in WW I, followed by a long career in education.  He became a department director at Teachers College of Columbia University and fought for the idea that teachers could help solve such issues as juvenile delinquency and urban poverty.  He made headline in the 1930s when he argued that male and female teachers should receive the same pay. 



Schultz Family visits Paly’s wrestling facility in the new gym

                SportsWinter SportsWrestling

A world class wrestler, Olympic gold medalist, inspirational coach and Palo Alto High School alumnus, David (Dave) Schultz, was shot and killed at point-blank range on Jan. 26, 1996. To help honor their son’s memory, Dave’s father and wife, Philip and Nancy Schultz returned to the Viking campus in November to tour the new wrestling facility led by a group of Paly wrestlers.

Dave and his brother, Mark Schultz were both state champion wrestlers in high school and continued to win more medals at the collegiate and professional level. The brothers’ success on the mat soon captured the attention of millionaire and American philanthropist, John Du Pont.

Du Pont was a sports fanatic who was never quite good enough to compete in sports himself, but channeled his compulsive obsession through sponsoring many sports teams. His next big project was to organize a super squad of citizen athletes under the name of Team Foxcatcher. When Dave was offered a spot on the team, Du Pont’s money was too green and he was too powerful and influential to be turned down. In 1989 Dave moved onto the Foxcatcher Farm with his family to be the new wrestling coach of Team Foxcatcher. Along with coaching the Foxcatcher wrestlers, Dave was well on his way to winning another gold medal in the 1996 Olympics.

Although fame soon shadowed Dave’s wrestling and public life, his work ethic remained persistent. As a Paly student athlete or an Olympic gold medalist, Dave never took his natural born talent for granted and trained intrinsically.

“[Dave’s work ethic] was inscribed within him from a time since he was 11 or 12 years old,” Philip Schultz said.

As mentally and physically demanding the sport of wrestling is, Dave was able to channel his passion and competitive nature into dominating on the mat according to his dad.

“He incorporated the whole damn thing with grace and ease. He was elevated because of the sport. The sport actually moved him towards the light that was his.”

Philip Schultz

On top of the strenuous nature of the sport, the Foxcatcher wrestlers were put under great pressure and possibly sexual abuse by Du Pont. Confirmed by many coaches and wrestlers, Du Pont allegedly removed wrestler Andre Metzger from the Foxcatcher team for declining his sexual advances. According to Mark, Du Pont invented a wrestling move dubbed the “Foxcatcher Five” that consisted of grabbing another wrestler’s testicles with five fingers. Du Pont also faced charges of sexual abuse in 1986, and as a result his wrestling program at Villanova University was disbanded according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Du Pont’s eccentric behavior quickly escalated and though the athletes grew suspicious, his wealth protected him from any allegations. The conspiracy theorist believed ghosts and Nazis lived on the Foxcatcher farm.

When Du Pont learned Dave would soon leave Team Foxcatcher for a wrestling job at Stanford University, his idiosyncrasies only intensified, until his last string of mental sanity snapped. On a Friday afternoon Du Pont drove onto Dave’s driveway and shot him dead.

The timeline of events leading up to Dave’s death was adapted into the 2014 thriller “Foxcatcher” starring Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum and Steve Carell.

The Schultz family has kept in close contact with the Paly community since Dave’s tragic death. Nancy graciously donated Dave’s Olympic jacket to Paly, now displayed in the new Peery Center.

“We constantly interact with people that have grown up with the Schultz brothers and we get to hear their wonderful and insightful stories. Dave Schultz is more than just a portrayal from an actor.  He was a humble, kind and diplomatic soul who laid a path for us to follow.”

Junior Andrew Wang

Nancy Schultz and U.S. Wrestling have worked in collaboration to create the Dave Schultz Memorial International, an annual wrestling meet in Colorado Springs that honors the “spirit of friendship, sportsmanship and goodwill” that Dave epitomized. Posters, medals and plaques in memory of Dave line the walls of the new wrestling room. The National Wrestling Hall of Fame sent Paly two brass plaques that hang on the entrance of the wrestling room dedicated to Mark and Dave. Paly wrestlers view the Schultz brothers as the gold standard of wrestling.

“Say Jeremy Lin is super good, Dave and Mark would be comparable to two Jeremys,” said junior wrestler Aidan Gans. “They definitely are huge factors in the wrestling community, and not just for us at Paly… I mean they are the most decorated brothers in the U.S.”

As one of the most reputable international wrestlers of his decade, Dave won a combined 16 medals in the World and U.S. National Championships, and exemplified some of the most technical matches seen in wrestling history.

“He’s a huge role model for me and all of us in the room,” Gans said. “If you are a Paly wrestler that wants to be one of the best, then you really look up to them because they came out of the same program, and they truly were some of the greatest wrestlers.”