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Olympic gold medalist Trafton coming to area

When Mike Louisiana made the arrangements for Stephanie Brown Trafton to come to this area, he knew a world class athlete would be coming for a visit. And he had a feeling that Trafton would be coming off a memorable summer when coming to the area.

It was surely a summer to remember as Trafton became the first American woman to win the gold medal in the discus since the 1932 Olympics. With her throw of 212 feet, 5 inches, Trafton won the gold this past summer at the Beijing Games.

While it was considered a surprising finish since Trafton barely qualified for the U.S. team by finishing third at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., Louisiana knew she had it in her to win the gold.

Louisiana, who has served as an assistant coach for Carson High’s track team, coaching the throwers the last two years, was once a world class discus thrower in his own right and has come to known Trafton over the years as the two have conducted numerous throwers camps together.

Louisiana, who was the NCAA men’s discus champion for BYU in 1971, has coached for more than 30 years and has coached in the area since 1991, coaching at Wooster, Reno, Galena and Hug High Schools before coming to Carson.

Louisiana and Trafton will be at it again on October 24 and 25 when the two help conduct a camp at his alma mater, Logan High in the Bay Area. Louisiana still holds the school record in the discus at Logan. Among others who will be at that camp will be 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the mens’ discus, Mac Wilkins.

But before attending that camp, Trafton will come to this area during the weekend of October 18. It all really began last spring when Louisiana took some of his throwers to compete at the Meet of Champions in Sacramento.

Trafton was also at the meet and the two ran into another. Louisiana just expected to exchange hellos with Trafton, but Trafton did more than that. “She went over and talked to my kids,” he said. “I thought that was really, really cool.”

Originally, Louisiana just invited Trafton to come to the area for a private gathering to encourage his current athletes ” and to maybe encourage others to come out for the discus. Among the athletes Louisiana said he would like to come out for the discus is the 6-4 Alysse Virden, now a standout on the CHS volleyball team.

But Trafton’s visit has now evolved into more than just a private gathering. She will be featured during the Boys and Girls Club of Carson Valley’s fund-raising event, the Sports and Vacation Extravaganza to be held October 18 at the Carson Valley Inn. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Cost is $50 and a Cioppino and past feed will be featured. There will also be a chance to win vacation and sports packages and NASCAR, NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball memorabilia will be featured at the event as well.

The event is sponsored by the Carson Valley Inn, the MEFIYI Foundation, L.A. Thomas, sojo aesthetics and Rite of Passage High School. Contact information: (775) 782-7874 or (775) 882-8820 or bgccarsonvalley@yahoo.com.

Details are also being worked out for Trafton to sign autographs at Carson City’s Fleet Feet from noon to 2 p.m. on October 18.

“Wow what a thrower and what a person,” said Louisiana about Trafton. “She’s very friendly.”

Louisiana said Trafton is also heavily involved in the cause in improving the state of USA Track and Field athletes. “She’s trying to better the sport for the athletes,” he said.

He and Trafton talked about the “power of the mind” before the Olympics, Louisiana said.

“You’re vision is standing on top of the medal stand,” said Louisiana about what he told Trafton. “You’re going to win the Olympic Games.”

Louisiana said Trafton had a picture of the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing at her home for motivation. “That’s what she looked at every day for a year,” he said.

And now Trafton is an Olympic gold medalist.