SHOWING METTLE IN ATLANTA
Stanford Athletes Shine at Olympics
By Mark Zeigler
ven for the Olympics, the potential for drama hardly could have been greater. A crowd of 32,500 in the
Georgia Dome and an international television audience of millions watched intently
as the individual apparatus finals of the gymnastics competition and the
last chance for an American mens medal unfolded before them.
But for Jair Lynch Stanford grad, assistant project manager at Silicon
Graphics and Bay Area community activist it was not just a scene of high
drama. It was a moment that defined the full range of his athleticism his
brains and brawn, his courage and spirit.
During warmups on the parallel bars, a discipline requiring a blend of power and
dexterity that converges where the hands meet the bars, a callus on his left palm
had cracked open. Lynch looked at the quarter-inch-wide hole in his left hand and
realized it would only worsen rubbing on the wooden bars. He had 15, maybe 20
minutes, to do something about it.
Lynch grabbed a razor blade and began slicing away, meticulously cutting the edges
of the callus so it wouldnt rip further, then smothering it in benzoin compound.
And then he waited to be nodded onto the podium.
Unfazed by the throbbing wound on his palm, Lynch nailed his parallel bars routine,
scoring a 9.825 and winning the silver medal. He became the first African American
gymnast ever to win an individual Olympic medal and the only American male to snag
a gymnastics medal in Atlanta.