Friday, August 22, 2008

Mao's successor Hua Guofeng dies

Former Chinese leader Hua Guofeng dies

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BEIJING: Hua Guofeng, who briefly ruled China as communist founder Mao Zedong's successor but was pushed aside by Deng Xiaoping as a prelude to reforms that launched an economic boom, died Wednesday at the age of 87, state-run media reported.

State broadcaster CCTV said that Hua died of an unspecified illness.

He took power after Mao's death in September 1976, but saw his powers erode until Deng took control two years later. Hua was forced out as Communist Party chairman in 1981 and slipped into obscurity.

In contrast to the harsh purges of earlier eras, when fallen leaders were banished to remote villages, Hua remained part of the inner circle as a member of the party's Central Committee.

Shortly after Hua took power, Mao's widow, Jiang Qing, and other members of the Gang of Four were arrested, marking the end of the violent 1966-76 Cultural Revolution. But it wasn't clear whether Hua played any part in the arrests.

When he was forced out as party leader in 1981, one stated reason was that Hua had continued to espouse the ultraradical ideals of the Cultural Revolution.

Little is known about Hua's final years. Some reports said he resigned from the party for health reasons in 2001, the year he turned 80, but the government didn't confirm that.

Born to a poor family in 1921, Hua became a guerrilla fighter in Mao's communist movement at 15 when it was battling for survival against Chiang Kai-shek's ruling Nationalists.

After the 1949 revolution, Hua served in provincial government and party posts until he was named to the Central Committee in 1969. He became party secretary of Hunan, Mao's home province, the following year.

Hua was named vice premier in 1975 and then premier, succeeding the late Zhou Enlai.

After Mao's death, as rival factions struggled for power, Hua became a compromise candidate to head the party. Mao was said to have told him, "With you in charge, I'm at ease."

Hua was described in the official press as "the wise" leader, a step below Mao, the former "great leader."

When Hua took power, China was in the grip of the Cultural Revolution, launched by Mao as an attack on potential rivals. Millions were persecuted while the economy was pushed to the brink of collapse.

The arrests of the Gang of Four symbolically ended the era of upheaval and self-imposed isolation.

Hua made a highly publicized trip to Eastern Europe in 1978 and visited Britain the next year.

But Deng, who saw Hua as an obstacle to his economic plans, already was maneuvering to replace him. Deng had been purged in Mao's final years but was restored to his official posts in July, 1977.

Hua was effectively stripped of his powers at a party meeting in December, 1978. The same gathering approved Deng's "reform and opening" policy legalizing small-scale private farms, the first step in what became China's successful capitalist reform program.

Hua resigned as premier in September, 1980, and was replaced by economist Zhao Ziyang, a Deng protege. The following year, Deng had Hua replaced as party secretary general by Hu Yaobang.

Both Zhao and Hu would later be dismissed by Deng — Hu in the mid-1980s after he was blamed for allowing student protests and Zhao after the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy demonstrations.

Early state media reports credited Hua with presiding over the downfall of the Gang of Four.

But by February 1979, papers quoted him as saying he wanted the "wise leader" tag dropped. In December 1980, he no longer was credited with the "Gang of Four" arrest.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mummified remains identified - 17 Aug 2008. Crashed Plane

Mummified remains identified

ANCHORAGE - IT took nine years of sleuthing and advanced DNA science and cutting-edge forensic techniques, but a mummified hand and arm found in an Alaska glacier have been identified.
The remains belong to Francis Joseph Van Zandt, a 36-year-old merchant marine from Roanoke, Virginia, who was on a plane rumored to contain lots of gold when it smashed into the side of a mountain in 1948.

Thirty people died in the crash of Northwest Airlines flight 4422.

'This is the oldest identification of fingerprints by post-mortem remains,' said latent fingerprint expert Mike Grimm Sr, during a teleconference on Friday, where the two pilots who found the remains, genetic scientists, genealogists and others talked about the discovery.

Twenty-four merchant marines and six crewmen died in the crash on March 12, 1948.

They were going from China to New York City when the DC-4 went into the side of Mount Sanford, perhaps because the pilots were blinded by an unusually intense aurora borealis that night.

The wreckage disappeared into the glacier within a few days.

The DC-4 was rumored to hold the gold because the merchant marines had just delivered an oil tanker to Shanghai.

While no gold was found, the two commercial airline pilots who discovered the wreckage found themselves on a scientific adventure filled with high-tech sleuthing.

The pilots, Kevin McGregor and Marc Millican, discovered the mummified remains in 1999 while recovering artifacts to identify the wreckage they had found two years earlier.

An Alaska State Trooper flew to the glacier to take possession of the remains, which were flown to Anchorage where the state medical examiner at that time obtained inked prints. The remains then were embalmed.

The Alaska Department of Public Safety attempted to match the fingerprints to numerous databases but came up empty because the details of the fingerprints were unclear.

A few pieces of the arm were sent to a commercial DNA laboratory.

However, no data could be obtained because the remains, having been in a frozen and dehydrated state for decades, were too degraded.

In 2002, the arm and hand were sent to a DNA expert in Canada.

Dr Ryan Parr at Genesis Genomics in Thunder Bay, Canada, was able to extract some DNA. However, it was still necessary to locate family members related to the victim for a mitochondrial DNA match.

In 2006, Dr Odile Loreille at the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory in Rockville, Maryland, was asked to help.

Her expertise is extracting DNA from the embalmed remains of unidentified soldiers from the Korean War.

Dr Loreille developed new methods that allowed her to read the hand and arm's mitochondrial DNA, that is DNA passed down by females.

'I managed to get a mitochondrial sequence,' she said. 'Now I just needed some relatives to compare.'

That's when forensic genealogist Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick got involved in the frustrating search for living relatives of the victims. She and her assistants found family members of 16 of the victims, but no DNA matches.

In the meantime, Grimm Sr, and his son, Mike Grimm Jr, began work with Edward Robinson, a professor of forensic science at George Washington University.

Mr Robinson made several attempts to rehydrate the fingers to raise the fingerprint swirls, but by this time only the layer of skin below the outer epidermal layer remained.

Mr Robinson tried again with a newly-developed rehydrating solution.

The fingers were soaked in the fluid and checked on hourly. Special imaging techniques then were used to produce a complete set of fully legible fingerprints.

On Sept 6, 2007, the prints were compared with some kept at the National Marine Center in Arlington, Virginia, and a match was found.

In the meantime, Dr Loreille confirmed the finding with nuclear DNA from a nephew of Van Zandt's. A genealogist also located a relative whose mitochondrial DNA matched the remains. The man's DNA also was a nuclear match. -- AP

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn

1. Obituary: Alexander Solzhenitsyn dies at 89

Solzhenitsyn had been ill for years

Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who exposed Stalin's prison system in his novels and spent 20 years in exile, has died near Moscow at the age of 89.

The author of The Gulag Archipelago and One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich, who returned to Russia in 1994, died of either a stroke or heart failure.

The Nobel laureate had suffered from high blood pressure in recent years.

After returning to Russia, Solzhenitsyn wrote several polemics on Russian history and identity.

His son Stepan was quoted by one Russian news agency as saying his father died of heart failure, while another agency quoted literary sources as saying he had suffered a stroke.

He died in his home in the Moscow area, where he had lived with his wife Natalya, at 2345 local time (1945 GMT) on Sunday, Stepan told Itar-Tass.

Mrs Solzhenitsyn told Moscow Echo radio her husband lived "a difficult but happy life".
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent his condolences to the writer's family, a Kremlin spokesperson said.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, whose reforms led to the end of communism in the country, said Solzhenitsyn played a key role in undermining Stalin's totalitarian regime.

His works "changed the consciousness of millions of people", Mr Gorbachev said.

Prisoner, patient, writer

Solzhenitsyn served as a Soviet artillery officer in World War II and was decorated for his courage but in 1945 was denounced for criticising Stalin in a letter.

He spent the next eight years in the Soviet prison system, or Gulag, before being internally exiled to Kazakhstan, where he was successfully treated for stomach cancer
Publication in 1962 of the novella Denisovich, an account of a day in a Gulag prisoner's life, made him a celebrity during the post-Stalin political thaw.

However, within a decade, the writer awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature was out of favour again for his work, and was being harassed by the KGB secret police.

In 1973, the first of the three volumes of Archipelago, a detailed account of the systematic Soviet abuses from 1918 to 1956 in the vast network of its prison and labour camps, was published in the West.

Its publication sparked a furious backlash in the Soviet press, which denounced him as a traitor.

Early in 1974, the Soviet authorities stripped him of his citizenship and expelled him from the country.
He settled in Vermont, in the US, where he completed the other two volumes of Archipelago.

While living there as a recluse, he railed against what he saw as the moral corruption of the West.

Scathing of Boris Yeltsin's brand of democracy, he did not return to Russia immediately upon the cHis homecoming in 1994 was a dramatic affair as he travelled in slowly by land from the Russian Far East.

Years later he was embraced by then-Russian President Vladimir Putin, who presented him with Russia's State Prize.

There was significant irony in the fierce critic of Soviet repression being hailed by a former senior officer of the KGB, says the BBC's James Rodgers in Moscow.

Mr Putin described Solzhenitsyn's death as a "heavy loss for Russia".

Solzhenitsyn's latter works, which included essays on Russia's future, stirred controversy.

In 2000, his last major work Two Hundred Years Together examined the position of Jews in Russian society and their role in the Revolution.


Born: 11 December 1918
1945: sentenced to eight years for anti-Soviet activities
1962: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in Russia
1970: Awarded Nobel Prize for Literature
1974: First volume of The Gulag Archipelago published
13 February 1974: Exiled from his native Russia
1994: Returns to Russia
3 August 2008: dies in Moscow

In Quotes

In quotes: Death of Solzhenitsyn
World leaders, literary figures and campaigners have been giving their reactions following the death of Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

(Solzhenitsyn's death) "is a heavy loss for the whole of Russia. We are proud that Alexander Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was our countryman and contemporary. We will remember him as a strong, brave person with enormous dignity.

Like millions of citizens, Solzhenitsyn lived through tough times. He was one of the first to talk about the inhumane Stalinist regime and about the people who experienced it but were not broken.

Until the end of his days he fought for Russia not only to move away from its totalitarian past but also to have a worthy future, to become a truly free and democratic country. We owe him a lot.

His intransigence, his ideals and his long, eventful life make Solzhenitsyn a hero from a novel, an heir to Dostoyevsky. He belongs to the pantheon of world history. I pay homage to his memory.

Alexander Solzhenitsyn will be remembered as an intellectual who provided us with a testimony, tinged with suffering, and a sharp and accurate view on the tragedies of 20th Century totalitarianism.

Russia today lost a great fighter for truth, who worked to reconcile the Russians with their past. The world loses a figure of freedom.

Solzhenitsyn was the mirror of the tragic, ironical Russian history. It's a rather complex, confused, tragic and ironical fate to go through all these tragic tribulations and to end being almost officially accepted by the gang that was at the birth of most powerful denouncing.

This is a huge blow to Russia, a blow to each of us. We have grown under the sign of Solzhenitsyn.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn always said what he thought, without caring about the consequences, without caring how the authorities would react. He was not afraid to be alone.

He embodied resistance and truth. He embodied discourse at a time when no-one wanted to hear. He was the person who dared to point the finger when no-one wanted to see what was happening.

(Solzhenitsyn) is of such size that it can't be exaggerated and therefore we can't discuss him as an artist or a political figure. He is like a saga's hero - something much more than can be compared with real human possibilities.

It's a great loss for our family. It's also a loss for the country. He was always really happy he returned. This is his home.

(He) had a difficult but happy life. We were very happy together

In his own words
Please note: this is the final passage of the book

Shukhov felt pleased with life as he went to sleep. A lot of good things had happened that day. He hadn't been thrown in the hole. The gang hadn't been dragged off to Sotsgorodok [settlement]. He'd swiped the extra gruel at dinnertime. The foreman had got a good rate for the job. He'd enjoyed working on the wall. He hadn't been caught with the blade at the searchpoint. He'd earned a bit from Tsezar that evening. And he'd bought his tobacco.

The end of an unclouded day. Almost a happy one.

Just one of the three thousand six hundred and fifty-three days of his sentence, from bell to bell.

The extra three were for leap years.

People in the West have acquired considerable skill in using, interpreting and manipulating law, even though laws tend to be too complicated for an average person to understand without the help of an expert...

It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.

Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defence against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror.

It is considered to be part of freedom and theoretically counter-balanced by the young people's right not to look or not to accept. Life organised legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil.

extract from his speech at Harvard University, 1978

I can't say that I wrote my books in order to open the eyes of the West to what had been going on in the East. Above all, I wrote all my books for the benefit of my own people, for the Russians, because [we] ourselves don't know our own history.

It's not just the West that doesn't know our history; we ourselves have lost it. Recent events, both pre- and post-Revolutionary, have been wiped out. The documents have been burnt, the witnesses killed. So I have been working to reconstruct the truth, all the truth about my own country, and this is what I have done primarily for our own people's benefit.

speaking to the BBC in 1974

I never doubted that communism was doomed to collapse, but I was always afraid of how Russia would emerge from that communism and at what price. I know I am coming back to a worn-out, discouraged, shell-shocked, Russia which has changed beyond recognition and is wandering about in search of itself.

from a speech in Vladivostok on his return to Russia from exile in 1994

The main achievement is that Russia has revived its influence in the world.

But morally we are too far from what is needed. This cannot be achieved by the state, through parliamentarianism...

As far as the state, the public mind and the economy is concerned, Russia is still far away from the country of which I dreamed.

his last TV interview, 2007

Cold War Olympics - Emil Zatopek of Czechoslovakia. The Czech Locomotive


Emil Zátopek (September 19, 1922 – November 22, 2000) a Czech runner, was the first and only man ever to win the "triple crown" of the 5,000- and 10,000-meter races as well as the marathon in a single Olympics. He is considered to be one of the creators of interval training, a method that is still used by athletes today. His sessions such as 100 x 400m are the stuff of legend among athletics aficionados, as are the training runs in the woods in army boots or the runs with Dana on his back as part of the strengthening programme prior to Melbourne. It was Zatopek who ushered in the era of the high-volume training which led to the rewriting of the record-books in the sixties

Emil Zatopek was born on September 19, 1922, in Koprinivince, Czechoslovakia. His father was a carpenter who raised eight children. Zatopek began running at the age of 16, when he was working in the Buta shoe factory. In 1941, the shoe factory sponsored a race through the streets of the town of Zlin. Zatopek had never competed before and did not want to run in the race, but was forced to by his employer. As Richard Benyo noted in The Masters of the Marathon, "He finished second, probably motivated more by the desire to get it over with than the wish to shine in the event." Zatopek ran a few more races in the next year, but was not passionately interested in running.

However, coaches and trainers marked him as a talented young runner. In his first official race, a 3,000-meter run, he came in second only to his trainer. A newspaper reported, "A good performance by Zatopek." He read that line over and over; it was the seed of all his future ambitions in running. When the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia during World War II, Zatopek joined the army. Instead of running on roads, he ran in his army boots during his guard duty, training every day regardless of weather, and using a flashlight to run in the dark if necessary.

The Helsinki Olympics

In 1952, the Olympic Games were scheduled to be held in Helsinki, Finland. They were the subject of a great deal of speculation because athletes from the Soviet Union and its satellite countries would be participating for the first time since 1917. It was the time of the Cold War, and tension between the Communist governments and the USA was high. The countries diverted their mutual competition into the Games. At the Olympics, however, athletes from behind the Iron Curtain and those from the West coexisted peacefully, inviting each other into their quarters and competing with honor.

Zatopek was the star of the track events that year despite a doctor's warning that he shouldn't compete due to a gland infection two months before

At the previous Olympics held in London in 1948, he had won a gold medal in the 10,000-meter race and a silver medal in the 5,000.

In Helsinki, Zatopek won the 10,000 meters with ease, setting a new Olympic world record by almost 43 seconds. In the 5,000, he was trailing until the final turn, where he sprinted and won by a little less than a second, setting another Olympic record.

Zatopek's wife, Dana Zatopkova, was also an athlete. After he won his second gold, he loaned the medal to her just before she began competing in the javelin throw. She put it in her bag for good luck, and with her first throw, set a new Olympic record and won the event.

Zatopek had never won a marathon before, but buoyed by his two wins, announced that he would compete in the Olympic marathon, three days after the 5,000-meter race.

The Beast of Prague

Zatopek was not a graceful runner, and was famous for his horrifying style.

Newspapers called him "The Beast of Prague," "The Czech Express," and "The Human Locomotive," because of his distorted appearance while running. Charlie Lovett wrote in Olympic Marathon and describes him aptly, "Each step for the Czech runner looked as though it might be his last. His face was constantly contorted as if in terrible pain, his head rolled wildly, and his arms were held high, as if to clutch at his heart. Anyone who watched Zatopek run for a few steps would assume he was on the point of collapse. And, anyone who had run a marathon knew that such a style wasted valuable energy and was not likely to lead to completion of the race, much less victory. Zatopek, however, was not a runner who dealt in likelihoods."

Benyo wrote, "His style has been described as similar to a man just stabbed in the heart, his head would roll back as though his eyes were attempting to see over the top of his head, his tongue would loll out of his mouth, and an expression of pain would cross his face as though he were about to drop to the ground from a mortal wound. His arm movements were spastic, one would drop so low that it appeared as though he were trying to scratch his knee. Each step appeared to be torture." Despite his unusual style, he was known for his good humor, enthusiasm, and love of running; Benyo described him as "charming, warm, intelligent, guileless and totally unaffected by his fame as well as undaunted by his frequent turns of fortune."

Zatopek was well-known as one of the inventors of a system of training called "interval training," which is still used by athletes. In this system, a runner covers a short distance very quickly, then rests while running more slowly, then runs the distance again, rests again, runs again, and so on. This training builds speed and endurance, unlike running long distances at a steady pace, which builds only endurance. It was his interval training that made him feel he would be able to compete in the marathon; he would be the first runner ever to attempt to win the 5,000, 10,000, and marathon in a single Olympics.

The Helsinki Marathon

At the marathon, Jim Peters of Great Britain, who held the world record with a time of 2:20:42, was expected to win. He had a time about five minutes better than all his prospective competitors in Helsinki. This included the marathon virgin, Emil Zatopek.

At the start Zatopek sought out Jim Peters, looking to the favourite to help him pace the longest event. Looking for Peter's number (187) the Czech marathon debutant found the British world record holder and asked "Hello are you Peters?" Jim Peters said 'yes' and Zatopek then said "I am Emil Zatopek from Czechoslovakia, I am very pleased to see you."

From the beginning Peters set a fast pace, with the first five kilometres completed in 15 minutes 43 seconds, then the 10 kilometre mark was passed in 31 minutes 55 seconds.

At the 15km mark, Zatopek asked Peters, "Jim, the pace. Is it good enough?"

Peters replied "Pace too slow", even though he was beginning to feel the effects of his efforts so far.

Zatopek considered this reply and then said "You say too slow. Are you sure the pace is too slow?"

Peters again said 'yes', at which point Zatopek shrugged his shoulders, before making his move nearing the 20 kilometres mark.

Swede Gustaff Jansson kept pace with Zatopek as Peters fell behind. By the half way mark, Zatopek and the Swede were equal first (1.04.27) and Peters third (1.04.37).

Jansson took a slice of lemon at a feed station and Zatopek noted this. He thought that as the Swede was running well, the lemon probably would help.

When the Czech came to the next feed station Zatopek would take two lemons.

Meanwhile Peters was fading fast, and at the turn for the last half of the marathon Zatopek grabbed the lead, without taking any lemons to suck.

Jansson faded as well and by the 35 kilometre point he was over a minute behind Zatopek. Peters had collapsed exhausted after 32 kilometres, so he was no longer a threat.

In the meantime, the Argentinian Reinaldo Gorno, improved his position to second behind Zatopek at the 40 km mark. The incredible strength and ability of Emil Zatopek was about to bring him the amazing troika of gold medals at the one Olympics; 5000 metres, 10,000 metres and the marathon.

The Helsinki Olympia stadium rang once last time with the chant 'Zat-o-pek! Zat-o-pek!' as their hero ran the last lap of the marathon.

The gap between gold and silver ended up to be over two and a half minutes, with Zatopek crossing the line in 2 hours 23 minutes and 3.2 seconds.

The Jamaican 4x100 metres relay team hoisted Zatopek on their shoulders, chairing him around as the ecstatic crowd gave him a standing ovation. Then as Gorno crossed the finishing line for his silver medal Zatopek came over to the Argentinian, greeting him with a slice of orange

After his victory Zatopek said:

"I was unable to walk for a whole week after that (the marathon), so much did the race take out of me. But it was the most pleasant exhaustion I have ever known."

The Prague Spring 1968

A hero in his native country, Zátopek was an influential figure in the Communist Party and a revered public figure in Czechoslovakia. He quit running as an athlete in 1957 but remained highly influencial.

All that changed in 1968 during the Prague Spring. Under reformist Alexander Dubcek, Czechslovakia tried to liberalize communism and introduce democratic reforms. Zatopek signed the "2000 Word Manifesto" which called for a break from the Soviet Union and encouraged reform.

When the Soviet tanks rolled into Prague to crush the reform movement on that fateful summer's day, Zatopek spoke out against the Soviet use of tanks to crush the democratic movement. When the reforms failed, Zatopek was a marked man. He was stripped of his Army rank, and expelled from the Communist Party. He was sent to work in a uranium mine for six years for political rehabilitation.

Between 1969 to 1982, Zatopek practically disappeared from the western world, and yet he always argued that it wasn't so bad. He learned a lot from his experience.

After his years in the uranium mine, Zatopek found a role at the Czechoslovak Physical Training Association in 1970, and later in the decade was associated with the Czech national sports institute.

During his final years Zatopek settled down with wife Dana - who won gold in the javelin at the 1952 Games - in a small town outside Prague.

Still the Olympian

Greatly loved by his competitors as well, the quality of Zatopek not just as an Olympian but as a man was shown not just by his victories in Helsinki, but also by the way he went about securing them. Finally, with one last generous act, Emil Zatopek soared further into the stratosphere of Olympic legends.

In the 1968, 10,000 metre world record holder Ron Clarke met with Zatopek after the Mexico City Olympics. On the point of leaving Prague after his visit, Clarke was walked through customs by Zatopek. Shaking hands in a final farewell, Zatopek passed a small package to the Australian, which Clarke took unopened onto his flight. Worried that he was carried some smuggled information from Zatopek (who signed the manifesto supporting the so-called "Prague Spring" of 1968), Clarke only opened his package when the flight was well outside Czechoslovakian airspace.

Inside was Zatopek's 10,000 metres gold medal from Helsinki. With this act of true sporting friendship, Emil Zatopek's words to Ron Clarke as he had got on the plane made sense to the Australian; "Because you deserved it".

The Velvet Revolution

In 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev encouraged Eastern Europe to adopt Glasnost and Perestroika, sparking off a wave of nationalism and reforms in Czechoslovakia, tje Vevet Revolution took place (Czech: sametová revoluce, Slovak: nežná revolúcia) between November 16 – December 29, 1989. Riot police ried to supress a peaceful student demonstration in Prague which turned into huge popular demonstrations. With the USSR refusing to intervene, a non-violent revolution occured in Czechoslovakia. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announced that it would relinquish power and dismantle the single-party state. Barbed wire and other obstructions were removed from the border with West Germany and Austria (Alexander Dubček was elected speaker of the federal parliament and Václav Havel the new democratic President of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989)

The Velvet Revolution made the wheel turn a full circle. Zatopek could travel again - and enjoyed the affection heaped on him by athletics fans the world over. In 1999 he was voted as the greatest Olympic champion from the Czech Republic by a jury of experts and journalists from the country.

Zatopek's Death

In November 2000, legendary Czech athlete Emil Zatopek died after suffering with a mystery virus complicated by pneumonia and a weakened heart rate.

The four-times Olympic champion died in a Prague military hospital, aged 78.

Zatopek was hospitalised after a stroke on 30 October, 2000 and had been in a critical condition since.


"Essentially, we distinguish ourselves from the rest. If you want to win something, run the 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

"I was not talented enough to run and smile at the same time."

"It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."

Upon winning: "But it was the finest exhaustion I've ever felt."

"His enthusiasm, his friendliness, his love of life, shone through every movement. There is not and never was a greater man than Emil Zatopek." - Ron Clarke

Olympics History - Nazi Germany, Japan, Saarland, China, Singapore

The Berlin Olympics

Seeing the pictures from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Opening Ceremony is sickening. With Hitler looking on, each nation's delegation marches into the stadium in perfect goosestep. Most of the teams raise their arm in the "Olympic salute," which looks supiciously similar to the Nazi salute. Countries that will go on to be decimated by the Third Reich march and cheer along with the crowds.

What's interesting to note about the 1936 games is that many of the traditions that are considering integral to the Olympics were started in Berlin. The torch relay, a massive opening ceremony and taping the whole spectacle were started by Hitler's regime.

Hitler even cajoled filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl to go to Delphi, carve the Olympic rings into a stone, and film it, so to convince people that the rings were an ancient drawing, not the creation of modern Olympic founder, Pierre de Coubertin

By allowing only members of the "Aryan" race to compete for Germany, Hitler further promoted his ideological belief of racial supremacy. At the same time, the party removed signs stating "Jews not wanted" and similar slogans from the city's main tourist attractions. In an attempt to "clean up" Berlin, the German Ministry of Interior authorized the chief of police to arrest all Romani (Gypsies) and keep them in a special camp .[2] Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of anti-homosexual laws.

Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmarks, generating a profit of over one million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or that of the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million, chiefly in capital outlays

Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany (host nation) 33 26 30 89
2 United States 24 20 12 56
3 Hungary 10 1 5 16
4 Italy 8 9 5 22
5 Finland 7 6 6 19
6 France 7 6 6 19
7 Sweden 6 5 9 20
8 Japan 6 4 8 18
9 Netherlands 6 4 7 17
10 Great Britain 4 7 3 14

A total of 49 nations attended the Berlin Olympics, up from 37 in 1932. Six nations made their first official Olympic appearance at these Games: Afghanistan, Bermuda, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, and Peru.

Clips of Berlin Olympics: -,99210

USSR in the Olympics

(Water Polo Team)

The Soviet Union only first participated at the Olympic Games only in 1952 in Helsinki Finland. They were the second best nation on the medal tally. The USA was first.

Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States 40 19 17 76
2 Soviet Union 22 30 19 71
3 Hungary 16 10 16 42

China in the Olympics

China first participated at the Olympic Games in 1932 in Los Angeles USA. The Republic of China (ROC) would participate in 1948. In 1948, the 52-member delegation from ROC consisted of 33 contenders for track and field, swimming, football, basketball, as well as cycling events. The results were disappointing, as all were eliminated in the preliminary contests.

In 1952, the Republic of China (Chinese Taipei/Taiwan), listed as "China (Formosa)", withdrew from the Games on July 20, in protest of the allowing of the People's Republic of China's men and women to compete.

For the PRC, the men's football and basketball teams and one swimmer joined the Olympics. A total of 40 athletes and officials took part. The football and basketball teams arrived too late to take part in the competition, only the swimmer took part. He was Wu Chuanyu, Men's 100m Backstroke — 1:12.3 (Heat five)

(Wu Chuanyu at the 4th World Juniors and Students Friendship Game held in Bucharest, Romania. He won the gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke swimming event. It was the first time that the Chinese national flag rose in international sports arena)

World War Two and the Olympics

In 1940, the summer Olympics were scheduled for Tokyo, Japan, but were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II. In 1937, Tokyo was stripped of its host status for the Games by the IOC due to the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War, and the Games were then awarded to Helsinki, Finland, the runner-up in the bidding. The Games were then scheduled to be staged from July 20 to August 4, 1940. The Olympic Games were suspended indefinitely followed the outbreak of the war, and did not resume until the London Games of 1948.

Germany and Japan were not invited to the 1948 London Olympics. Germany was also banned from the 1920 Antwerp Olympics and 1924 Paris Olympics.

In the 1920 Olympics, Germany was blamed for the start of World War I. Germany, together with other Central Powers allies - Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria, Hungary. These nations, which by now had new governments, were banned from the 1920 Summer Olympics.

While all other banned nations were invited again for the 1924 Summer Olympics, held for the second time in Pierre de Coubertin's home town of Paris, the ban on Germany was not lifted until 1925. This was likely related to French Occupation of the Ruhr and the Rhineland between 1923 and 1925.

Singapore in the Olympics

Singapore competed in the Summer Olympic Games for the first time at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England, as a British Crown Colony.

The following Singaporean athletes participated in the games:

Association Football - Chia Boon Leong and Chu Chee Seng
Athletics - Ng Liang Chiang and Valberg Lloyd, Highjump (finished 14th place)
Basketball - Chua Boon Lay

Cold War - Divided Germany in the Olympics

After World War Two, there were three German states found in Germany. There were athletes from the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany, the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Saarland (A French protectorate)

Before 1956, it was decided that German athletes from West Germany and the French-occupied Saarland would took part in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics separately

The Saarland joined the Federal Republic after 1955, while the East German authorities, which had not taken part in the 1952 Games, agreed in 1956 to let their athletes compete in a united team that used the black-red-gold tricolour, but with additional Olympic rings in white placed upon the red middle stripe, as East German politicians were eager not to compete under the traditional German flag used both by West Germany and even themselves.

They competed together as the United Team of Germany (EUA for French: Équipe unifiée d'Allemagne, German: Gesamtdeutsche Mannschaft) in the 1956 Melbourne, 1960 Rome, and 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

After 1961, despite initially calling for a "united Germany" in the East German anthem, the socialist East German government intensified its separation in Germany, with the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961, obstructing travel within Germany even more. The travel of GDR athletes for contests and training sites in the Alps was limited.

As a result of this development, Aahletes from the Soviet-occupied German Democratic Republic (GDR) appeared in a separate team after the United Team effort was discontinued. In five Games, from 1968 Mexico Olympics to 1980 Moscow Olympics and again in 1988 Seoul Olympics, the GDR participated as a separate team.

The separation was completed at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when the two countries used separate flags and anthems. This continued until the German Reunification of 1990 caused East Germany to cease to exist.

Germany in the 1952 Helsinki Games

In the 1952 Helsinki Games, only athletes from West Germany and the Saarland took part. West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany (GER) claimed exclusive mandate to represent the entire country. Athletes from the Saarland (SAA) competed as a separate team, as the French-occupied state would not join the Federal Republic of Germany until 1955.

Saarland was founded in spring of 1950 in the Saar protectorate which existed from 1947 to 1956 in the Saarland, a region of Western Germany that was (again) occupied in 1945 by France. As a separate team, they only took part in the 1952 Summer Olympics, participating in boxing and canoeing, before being allowed to rejoin the German team for the summer games of 1956. Following a referendum in October 1955 that rejected the Saar statute proposing independence as European territory, thus voting indirectly in favor of access to the Federal Republic of Germany, the Saar treaty of October 1956 allowed the Saarland to rejoin Germany with effect of 1 January 1957.

China in the Olympics

People are curious to know when China first took part in the Olympics.

Some say it was at the very first Olympic Games in 1896, or during the latter part of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), when the country was ruled by dowager Cixi (1835-1906).

Upon receiving an invitation from the International Olympic Committee, nobody at her court knew what was meant by "Olympics." When she was eventually told that it was a sports meet including running events, she burst out laughing and said, "Well, we may send some of our eunuchs who are running the court so well. They are good runners."

Perhaps this might be a mere idle tale about the unpopular dowager. It remains a riddle whether the Qing court received a letter of invitation from the IOC at all.

In order to find an answer to this problem, Mr. Lu Enchun, a coach of the Chinese gymnastics team, once went to the Imperial Palace in Beijing to look into the Qing archives. But he was completely at sea among the piles of documents.

Similar effort was made by some China Olympic Committee officials from a different angle in 1995 when they visited the international Olympic Museum in Lausanne. The only answer they got from the keeper was that not every country was invited to the first Olympics.

According to a relevant document available, it's more probable than not that China was NOT invited to the first Olympic Games. That's a book entitled "Li Hongzhang's Missions to Europe and America." Li was Prime Minister of the Qing government and paid a visit to Europe in 1896. He was informed by the French Foreign Minister that the first Olympics were to be held in Europe, and it was hoped that Li would be able to come to France again. But nothing was mentioned about China being invited to the Olympic Games.

So when was China invited for the first time to the Olympics? According to historical records, Chinese diplomat Wang Zhengting was elected into the IOC in 1922. It was then that the sports organization in China was formally recognized by the IOC. And it is stipulated in the Olympic Charter that only an organization recognized by the IOC may enter competitors in the Olympic Games. It was not until 1932 when the 10th Olympic Games were held in Los Angeles that China was invited for the first time to send athletes for competition.

Four years before this, however, when the 9th Olympics were scheduled to be held in Amsterdam in 1928, China had been invited to send an observer to attend the opening ceremony through a diplomat named Song Ruhai. In addition, an overseas Chinese He Haohua registered in a cycling race on behalf of his motherland. Unfortunately, he was injured and hospitalized. Anyhow, he was the first Chinese Olympian.

In his Chinese History of Sports over the Past Century, Prof. Wu Wenzhong confirms that China was first represented by Song Ruhai at the Olympic Games in 1928- entirely in the capacity of an observer. About this Song has written in his book, " The World Games".

In spite of the presence of a Chinese official and a voluntary competitor at the 9th Olympics, no delegation worthy of the name had ever been sent by China to the Olympics until 1932. Even then, the Chinese government had no real intention to take part in the 10th Olympic Games. It happened that the Japanese invaders had occupied northeastern China and concocted the bogus Manchukuo. A plot was afoot to send a promising athlete, Liu Changchun, to the 1932 Olympics in the name of the puppet regime in order to make it accepted as a fait accompli. But the patriotic-minded athlete made a statement in the newspaper "L' Impartial", refusing to represent the so-called Manchuguo at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the well-known patriotic General Zhang Xueliang exposed the Japanese aggressors' scheme and declared that he would sponsor Liu Changchun to the Olympics representing China. He announced at a graduation ceremony of Northeastern University that Liu and his coach Song Junfu would participate in the 10th Olympic Games on behalf of China.

General Zhang, who passed away in Honolulu, USA on October 15, 2001, has been held in high esteem by the Chinese people not only as a great patriot, but also as the supporter of the first group of Chinese to take part in the Olympics. Although eliminated in the preliminary heats in the 100m and 200m sprints clocking 11.1 and 22.1 respectively, Liu has pioneered the way for China's participation in the Olympics - a way full of twists and turns at the time and henceforward.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Email - Word Origin

Reinvent, Reuse, Recycle
By Anu Garg

Anu Garg is the founder of, an online community of word lovers in 200 countries. He has authored three books on the origins of words. In this new column, "On Words With Anu Garg," he will explore the origins and metamorphoses of words throughout history, from brand-new words (such as locavore -- one who prefers to eat locally sourced food) to words that have been reconditioned, retooled and overhauled so much that they no longer resemble what they were when they rolled off the assembly line of the language.

If you were asked to guess when the word e-mail was coined, chances are you'd say perhaps a couple of decades back. Would it surprise you to learn that the first use of the word is recorded from around the time of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)? Clearly, Emerson didn't use e-mail to send his manuscripts to his publisher. In fact, he couldn't even call his editor to ask when his next book was coming out -- there was no commercial telephone service then. In any case, if he missed e-mail, we can safely assume he didn't miss spam.

What was e-mail doing at the time when there were no computers, telephones or even promises of large sums of Nigerian loot? Well, the answer is that it was a different type of e-mail. That e-mail meant enamel, as in the glossy paint applied to metal, pottery, etc. In French, the word émailler still means "to enamel," not to send out a message using electronic mail. The word mail in electronic mail is of Germanic origin, meaning a bag.

The word chainmail is even older, from the 1820s. The word referred to the body armor made of interlocking links, not the e-mails circulating old jokes. The word mail in chainmail means one of the rings of which armor was made, and is of Latinate origin.

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The 26 letters of the English alphabet can yield billions of combinations, yet we still bump into words that appear to be reincarnations. Sometimes we recycle an old word for new purposes, sometimes we coin a word not knowing that a word with the same spelling existed earlier. I often hear from people who believe they have just coined a catchy word: e-dress for e-mail address, until I ask them to Google it. And sometimes words that may look alike actually have different origins.

With the start of the Harry Potter mania in 1997, a new word entered the popular culture: muggle. In the Potterworld, a muggle is an ordinary person, one with no magical powers. By extension, we use the word to indicate someone lacking a particular skill; one, who doesn't have a special ability, a novice, one outside a field, one uninitiated in a field. Before J.K. Rowling made "muggle" a household word, it has had nearly as many lives as a black cat. The Oxford English Dictionary shows the first citation for this word is from the 13th century, and defines it as "a tail resembling that of a fish." Since then it has been used to describe a young woman, a sweetheart and later marijuana. Over the years many writers (including Lewis Carroll) have used the word Muggle as a name for their characters, it's just that with the popularity of the "Harry Potter" books it became better known.

When did the words google, yahoo and pixilated first appear in English? The last few decades? Here are the years of the first known citations for these words: google (1907), yahoo (1726) and pixilated (1848). Welcome back to the future.

What bugs you about language? Would you like to send Anu Garg your comments on this column? Visit

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What happened to Linda?

Linda is a librarian who appeared on Sesame Street from 1972 to 2003. Linda was introduced on the show in Episode 0326, which aired in January 1972.

Linda is deaf, as is her performer. As a deaf character, Linda allowed the producers of Sesame Street to teach viewers about sign language and address issues faced by deaf people.

Linda and Bob were very close, and a romantic relationship between the two was implied at various times. Linda was the original owner of Barkley the dog.

Linda no longer appears on the show, except in rare use of archive segments, but she is still mentioned in Sesame Street Magazine.


Linda Bove

Linda Bove (b. November 30, 1945) is a deaf actress who played Linda on Sesame Street from 1972 to 2003.

Born in Garfield, New Jersey, Bove graduated from the New Jersey School for the Deaf, and, in 1968, she received her bachelor's degree in library science from Gallaudet University, the first school for the advanced education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing. She soon detoured into the acting profession, however, as she was recruited by the recently formed National Theatre of the Deaf (NTD). She performed with the troupe in Songs from Milkwood and Moliere's Sganarelle, and made her Broadway debut with the two shows in 1970. That same year, she married fellow deaf performer Ed Waterstreet.

Bove also accompanied the National Theatre of the Deaf in their visits to Sesame Street, as a member of the troupe. She subsequently made her debut as a character in her own right, a librarian named Linda, in Episode 0326, which aired in January 1972. She appeared sporadically in the early seasons, with Children's Television Workshop describing her as a "frequent guest," until 1979, when she was featured "on a more regular basis." [1]

As the only non-hearing performer on the series, Linda Bove found that the staff writers were initially unsure of how to write for her:

When I joined the cast I found the writers would write about 'How would a deaf person do this?' 'How does a deaf person do that?' And it was just related to my deafness and it didn't feel like they were treating me as a person. I found my character one-dimensional and kind of boring. It showed how brave a deaf person was to do this and that in everday life. I said it was no big deal. I have a sense of humor; why don't you show that? I can be angry over something. Show that I can have a relationship with another person. Maybe a love relationship with Bob. It's not perfect, but... We do have misunderstandings over sign language, make fun of it, and show the funny side of it. It's OK.
In addition to demonstrating to viewers that deaf people were much like everyone else, Bove used American Sign Language to communicate with others, teaching it to children at home. She carried the latter over into several Sesame Street books, teaching how to sign words and letters in Sesame Street Sign Language ABC with Linda Bove, Sign Language Fun, and a series of sign language pages for The Sesame Street Treasury, developed with the NTD. Remaining with Sesame Street through 2003, Bove holds the honor of the longest recurring role in television history for a disabled person.

Linda Bove's other TV credits include a recurring role on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow in 1973, as Melissa Hayley Weldon, and a guest spot on Happy Days, playing the title character in the 1980 episode "Allison," a deaf woman with whom Fonzie falls in love. That same year, she understudied the leading role of Sarah Norman in the Broadway play Children of a Lesser God, the acclaimed story of a speech teacher who romances an independent deaf woman. Bove starred in the role at the National Theater in 1981, and appeared in the 1986 film version, in a small role as successful economist Marion Loesser. Other projects have varied from children's videos (translating the Land Before Time series into sign language) to the CD-Rom series Paws Signs Stories, as the costumed character Paws the Dog.

In recent decades, Bove has been actively involved in the Non-Traditional Casting Project, a non-profit organization encouraging the integration of different ethnicities and people with disabilities in theatre, film, and television. In 1991, with husband Ed Waterstreet, she co-founded DeafWest Theater, a Los Angeles based sign language theatre. In 2003, DeafWest Theatre produced their adaptation of the Huckleberry Finn musical Big River, combining sign language and deaf actors with hearing performers acting as on-stage "voices." Bove served as American Sign Language master, seeing that the signing maintained the flavor of Mark Twain's words, and played Miss Watson and others in the 2005 tour. The same year, she starred in the stage debut of the drama Open Window.

What happened to Luis?

Luis came to Sesame Street in 1971, and was the first human addition to the original cast. He is a dreamer who follows his heart, and is also an aspiring writer. He sings, plays the guitar, and teaches people about Hispanic culture and language.

A great handyman, Luis runs the Fix-It Shop, specializing in toaster repair. Over the years, many celebrities have dropped off their toasters for repair, including Robert Redford and Robert DeNiro.

Luis’s relationship with Maria is a positive example of love, romance, and marriage. The couple began dating during Season 19 in 1988, and their courtship and marriage was a year-long event. Their daughter, Gabi, arrived in Season 20.

Emilio Delgado
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Emilio Delgado (born May 8, 1940 in Calexico, California) is a Mexican-American actor. He is best known for his long-running role as Luis, the friendly Latino Fix-it Shop owner, on the children's television series Sesame Street. Delgado joined the cast of Sesame Street in 1971. He was born in Calexico, California and began his professional career in Los Angeles in 1968. Delgado lives in New York City with his wife Carol.

In Los Angeles, he was a company member of Inner City Rep, The Group Repertory, and LA Repertory. Some of his New York theatre credits include The San Diego Street Padres (INTAR), Floating Home (HExTC), Boxing 2000 (Richard Maxwell NYC Players), Dismiss All the Poets (New York Fringe Festival 2002), Nilo Cruz's A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ), Dinosaurios (IATI) and Night Over Taos (INTAR) . Famous for doing ba-limp in many plays and skits.

Emilio can easily claim the longest running part for a Mexican-American actor in a continuing television series. His portrayal of Luis has garnered him universal acclaim and has charmed and inspired viewers for over three decades. He has also performed in live shows throughout his Sesame Street career, interacting and singing the songs of Sesame Street, entertaining thousands of children and families.

On Sesame Street, his character, Luis, was the one of the second human additions to the original cast. Luis was a handyman and an aspiring writer. Luis, now married to Maria, teaches viewers about Hispanic culture and language.

His most recent television appearances include Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent' and "Law & Order: SVU". He was a regular cast member of Lou Grant and also appeared in episodes of Police Story, Hawaii Five-0, Quincy, and Cosby.


Emilio Delgado (Luis) grew up on the border in California, with aspirations of becoming an actor, New York was the furthest thing from Emilio's mind. Little did he know that one of the best jobs an actor could have was 'in the cards' for him a few years down the road; playing the part of "Luis" on Sesame Street! The privilege of playing "Luis" for the last 36 years has been the experience of portraying a Latino in a positive characterization, and to be part of the bilingual and bicultural aspects of the show.
Knowing that his performance over the years has enriched the lives of so many children has given Emilio a deep sense of accomplishment. Being a vital part of the show has given him the opportunity to enrich his own life by traveling extensively to nearly every state. And to have the good fortune to use his talent for acting, comedy and music has been most gratifying to him, surpassed only by the joy of working with so many talented and wonderful people on Sesame Street.

Over the years, Emilio has received many awards for his contributions to the show. In addition to "Luis," Emilio has performed in a variety of film, television and theatre roles across the country. He has also packed concert halls across America singing and performing songs from Sesame Street and the interaction with children and their families has been a big adventure! Emilio continues in the role of "Luis," happily following that adventure on the longest "Street" in the world.

What happened to Bob?

Bob Johnson is a music teacher who lives on Sesame Street.[1] He has been on Sesame Street since the premiere episode. His many songs on the show include "The People in Your Neighborhood," "Believe in Yourself" and "I've Got Two". An affable and low-keyed fellow, Bob was introduced as Gordon and Susan's neighbor, and had a close, semi-romantic friendship with Linda for many years (having previously resisted the advances of Molly the Mail Lady).

While Gordon and Susan (and to some extent, Maria and Luis) function largely as surrogate parents to the Muppet characters, Bob is more of a surrogate teacher, seldom assuming a disciplinary role. He lives in an apartment above Hooper's Store. Known relatives include Uncle Wally and his deaf niece named Samara. His birthday is August 15.

Bob McGrath

Robert Emmet "Bob" McGrath (born June 13, 1932) is an American singer and actor who worked with Mitch Miller then went on to play the human character "Bob" on Sesame Street. This character once had a long-lost brother named Minneapolis, an Indiana Jones-like action hero (Jeff Goldblum) who took him on a search for the golden cabbage of "Snuffertiti" with Big Bird and Snuffleupagus. They went to Snuffy's cave.

He was born in Ottawa, Illinois. With Susan, played by Loretta Long, Bob has been the longest lasting human character, and one of the most popular, on that show, leading to a Noggin segment proclaiming "the four decades of Bob" when promoting Sesame Street on that network.

McGrath is a 1954 graduate of the University of Michigan's School of Music. While attending Michigan, he was a member of the University of Michigan Men's Glee Club.

For over 30 years, McGrath has been a regular fixture on Telemiracle, a Saskatchewan telethon. On March 3, 2006 McGrath was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan for this work by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan (provincial representative of Queen Elizabeth II).[1]

McGrath was named for Irish patriot Robert Emmet. He and his wife Ann have five children together, as well as five granddaughters and two grandsons. The couple reside in Teaneck, New Jersey.[2][3]


Bob McGrath (Bob) is an original cast member of Sesame Street. An accomplished singer with seven children's albums to his credit, he performs family pop concerts and has appeared with more than 100 symphony orchestras in the U.S. and Canada.

McGrath has authored eight books including Uh-Oh Gotta Go (on potty training) and Oops, Excuse Me Please (on manners). He co-authored an educational music curriculum book for Alfred Publishing Co. called Music For Fun, used by teachers from kindergarten to second grade. His Rhythm Band Set produced by Rhythm Band Instruments is a Parent's Choice Award winner. McGrath co-authored Curriculum Connections with Educational Activities, a professional development video and CD for teachers of Pre-K and 1st grade, using music to develop six literacy skills. He has a recording company called Bob's Kids Music, which encompasses his seven albums. The Baby Record and Sing Me a Story have won both Parents Choice Awards and The Children's Music Web Award 2002. McGrath released his seventh CD, Christmas Sing Along this past season with Mike Renzi, musical director of Sesame Street.
As an advocate for children, McGrath has participated for almost 35 years in telethons and other fundraising events and was recently honored as a lifetime member by the Variety Children's Charity in British Columbia, and was inducted into the 2002 Silver Circle of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the American Eagle Award by the National Music Council, the Fame Award and a Lowell Mason Fellow by the National Association of Music Educators for furthering the cause of music education, the 2006 Saskatchewan Centennial Award for outstanding contributions to the province of Saskatchewan, and recently at the 60th Anniversary of the Midwest Clinic, the International Band and Orchestra Conference, was awarded the Medal of Honor, their highest honor in recognition for his contributions to music education throughout his career. He has been chairperson of National UNICEF Day, hosted World Children's Day at the United Nations and served as host and artistic director for the International Children's Festival at Wolf Trap for over 15 years.

On Sesame Street, he plays a music teacher. McGrath received his Bachelors degree in Music from the Univ. of Michigan, and a Masters in Music from the Manhattan School of Music. He has five children, and eight grandchildren. You can visit him at

Maria first appeared on Sesame Street in 1971 and has been a staple of the series ever since. Maria Figueroa arrived on Sesame Street as a Puerto Rican teenager, taking a job at the Sesame Street Library. The library was later converted into the Fix-It Shop, where Maria was hired as Luis' helper. Luis promoted her to full partner in Episode 1563.

Maria often mediates disputes amongst the Muppet characters but is sometimes more easily flustered by them than, say, Susan. She frequently serves as the target of the Amazing Mumford's magic and the cynical wisecracks of Oscar the Grouch, who has been known to address her with the nickname "Skinny."

For a number of seasons, Maria also appeared regularly in pantomime skits as Charlie Chaplin.

Although she held a romantic relationship with David for a time in the 1970s, she married Luis in 1988, becoming Maria Rodriguez. Her mother came over from Puerto Rico for the ceremony. Later, Maria's pregnancy became a storyline on the show, and Maria and Luis had a daughter, Gabi, in 1989.

For several years, Maria and Luis ran the Fix-It Shop together, where they repaired an assortment of items, including a vast number of toasters. In 2002 they converted the store to the Mail It Shop, only to revert it back to the Fix-It Shop in 2006.

Maria and her Sesame Street friends visited her family in Puerto Rico in 1979, for the first few episodes of Season 11.

Sonia Manzano

Sonia Manzano (born December 6, 1950) is an American actress and writer. She is best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street since 1970. She also licenses her image to promote items of baby clothes and plates in Hispanic America.

Sonia Manzano is a first-generation American of Latino descent who has affected the lives of millions of parent's and children since the 1970s, when she was offered an opportunity play "Maria" on Sesame Street.
Sonia was raised in the South Bronx where her involvement in the arts was inspired by teachers who encouraged her to audition for the High School of Performing Arts. She was accepted there and began her career as an actress.

A scholarship took her to Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show "Godspell." Within a year Sonia joined the production of "Sesame Street" where she eventually began writing scripts. Sonia has won 15 Emmy Awards in that capacity.

Sonia has performed on the New York stage, in the critically acclaimed theater pieces "Vagina Monologues" and "The Exonerated." She has written for the Peabody Award winning children's series, "Little Bill," and has written a parenting column for the Sesame Workshop web site called "Talking Outloud" which can be visited at

Sonia's children's book, "No Dogs Allowed," published by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing in 2004, was one of five books selected by the General Mills initiative "Spoonfuls of Stories." As part of that effort, Sonia worked with General Mills and its nonprofit partner, First Book, to encourage children to read and to help get books to children across the country. In the fall of 2005, General Mills gave away a total of one million copies of "No Dogs Allowed."

Sonia has received awards from the Association of Hispanic Arts, The Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington DC, The National Hispanic Media Coalition, The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families and Hispanic Heritage Award for Education in 2003. She received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Nortre Dame University in 2005. Closer to home she is proud to have been inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004.

She was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. She has served on the March of Dimes Board, and the board of the George Foster Peabody Awards and the board of Symphony Space, well known for it's Literary Shorts series on NPR.

Manzano has a licensing company called "The Three Amigas."

A second children's book "A Box Full of Kittens" will be out in June 2007. Sonia resides in the Upper West Side with her husband and daughter and is currently working on a memoir

What happened to Susan?

Loretta Long (b. June 3, 1940), or Dr. Loretta Long Ph.D., is an actress, singer, and educator who has played Susan on Sesame Street since the show's debut. In the earliest seasons, she also lent her voice to Muppet segments, including Roosevelt Franklin's Mother and the mother in "Five People in My Family"), amongst others.

Born in Paw Paw, Michigan, Long's father was a welder and her mother worked for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Her ambitious parents enabled her to attend Western Michigan University, where she earned an undergraduate degree in education and took theater classes on the side. After graduation, she moved to New York City, where she continued to take acting classes while teaching English as a substitute in the city and Yonkers. [1]

Long began her television career in 1967 on the variety series Soul!, which was produced at the New York public television station WNET. The series combined musical variety with frank talk on political and social issues affecting African-Americans, and played host to such performers as Stevie Wonder and Patti LaBelle.

In 1969, Long found Soul! set decorator Charles Rosen preparing a model of a street, and learned it was for a planned educational children's show. He encouraged Long to audition. She recalled the experience:

So, I never could get Charlie Rosen to admit it, but he left out an essential piece of information. They wanted a Joan Baez-type folk guitar player. ...I looked more like Angela Davis than I looked like Joan Baez... I had big hair, short skirt, and show tunes. Well, I show up, and they said, 'Where's your guitar?' I said, "What guitar?' They said, 'Everybody here plays the guitar, so stand over there.'
Now, see, I always tell kids these are defining moments in your life. See, I could have got huffy and puffy and went back up to the Bronx, but I came all the way downtown in a cab to keep my Afro together, so I stood over there. So, I waited and waited and waited, and they were getting ready to leave. And I said, 'Uh, could I give my music to the piano player so I can sing for you?' They said, 'We didn't hire a piano player. Everybody here plays the guitar.' And I said, 'What?! But I came to sing for you.' So, very unenthusiastic, they said, 'OK, so sing.' So my audition was I laid my music down... I started patting my foot, clapping my hands... [singing] 'I'm a little teapot, short and stout, here is my handle here is my spout.' And I looked right at the camera, and I said, 'Everybody sing.' And the little kids in the daycare, when they played the tape--I said, 'Everybody sing, they all stood up and started to sing. So that--I have some 4-year-olds to thank for a career. [2]

While playing Susan on Sesame Street, Long also commuted to the University of Massachussetts on her days off, pursuing a doctorate in Urban Education. She received the Ph.D. in 1973, with a dissertation specifically examining the educational model used on the TV series, "Sesame Street": A Space Age Approach to Education for Space Age Kids.[3] She also recorded several albums under the "Susan" label. As the seasons progressed, Long's portrayal of Susan changed, affected by the scripts and complaints from NOW, so she was no longer merely a dispenser of milk and cookies, but playing a working woman as well as a wife.

Outside of Sesame Street, Long has taught courses and served as a guest lecturer on such issues as women in the media and the relationship between children and television:

I think TV is like fire. It's good when it keeps you warm and bad if it burns your house down. TV is very popular and you need to be aware of what your children are watching. Don't turn it on because you are busy. I would like to see much less violence on TV cartoons; that really affects kids. But on the other hand, it can be a wonderful learning tool, as with Sesame Street.[4]

As a performer, Long has appeared in summer stock versions of Guys and Dolls and Sweet Charity and sung in The Vaudeville '80 tour. In film, she appeared in both Sesame Street movies, Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, and had uncredited parts in Cotton Comes to Harlem, Husbands, and The Out of Towners. TV appearances, often accompanied by Big Bird, include The Dick Cavett Show, The Flip Wilson Show, You Bet Your Life, and The Today Show.

Susan has seen a lot of sunny days on Sesame Street--3,900 of them to be exact! In her 31 years on the show she has touched the hearts and minds of millions.

Before that, she appeared on the public television program Soul, and in summer stock productions of Guys and Dolls, Milk and Honey and Sweet Charity. She is a distinguished former schoolteacher with a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Long is a published author, visiting scholar and educational consultant. She plays Susan, Gordon's wife and Miles' mother. Over the years, her character has evolved from housewife to nurse to working mother.

Loretta Long, Ph.D., is one of the few original cast members still on the Street. We first met her character, Susan, in 1969 as the wife to Gordon and the maternal figure for Big Bird. Over the years, Susan's character has grown and grown.

"In the beginning, all I did was bake cookies," says Dr. Long. "I was tired of burning my apron!" So, the show's creators had Susan hang up her apron and return to a career as a public health nurse. This shift offered a positive model for moms--at home and in the office--and for children, too. "Having the traditional maternal figure go to work showed youngsters that women can be more than mothers," she adds.

In the show's seventeenth season, Susan made another big change. She and Gordon adopted a son, Miles, and their family became one of few adoptive families on television. Dr. Long recalls a favorite Sesame episode in which Miles learns that family is about more than blood relations. "What was especially poignant was that we showed Miles' insecurities about how he fit into the family," she says.

Although Dr. Long and Roscoe Orman (Gordon) are not family in real life, Dr. Long is much like the character she plays on TV. For one thing, she and Susan both grew up on a farm in Michigan. That's no coincidence, though, since she and the other original cast members wrote "biographies" for their characters. "I'm from a farm in Michigan, so I made Susan a Midwest country girl," says Dr. Long.

Susan has taught kids and Muppets their ABCs, 123s, and other important lessons. Similarly, Dr. Long, who earned her degree in Urban Education in 1973, was a teacher in the Detroit, Yonkers and New York City school systems, and continued to teach through her first season on Sesame Street. "I thought I was leaving the education business to get into show business!" she says with a smile. Fortunately, she found a way to do both! Dr. Long continues to educate and entertain kids as the author of a series of children's books (the newest one is Courtney's Birthday Party).

No matter where she goes, Dr. Long takes her Sesame Street life with her. "I always get stopped by kids. I love talking to them--though it has almost caused me to miss a few airplanes!" says Dr. Long. " I feel really blessed to do what I do."

What happened to David?

David appeared on Sesame Street from 1971 until 1989, as the second adult African-American male resident, after Gordon. A hip, upbeat individual, David was fond of eccentric hats and singing. He initially worked part-time at Hooper's Store while studying law. For several years, it was implied that David and Maria had a romantic relationship. However, later seasons would find Maria falling in love with and marrying Luis.

Following Mr. Hooper's death in 1983, David inherited the store and operated it with help from Petey and later Gina. David's family includes his sassy grandmother Harriet, who visited periodically. When Northern Calloway left the show in 1989, it was explained that David had moved away from Sesame Street to be with his grandmother, and ownership of the store was turned over to Mr. Handford.

Northern J. Calloway

Northern J. Calloway (January 22, 1948 – January 9, 1990) was an American actor who played David on Sesame Street from 1971 through 1989, and also voiced Muppet characters including Same Sound Brown.

His death was possibly the most tragic one of the Sesame Street cast. Jive talking hipster David was portrayed as Sesame Street's number one cool cat from 1971 until just before his death in 1989. Throughout his life the immensely talented Calloway would be subject to whispers involving the subject of legal issues, illness, drug addiction and madness.

Northern Calloway had a life long love for the theatre. A New Yorker, Calloway graduated from the School of Performing Arts and immediately found work with the Lincoln Center Repertory Company. Soon afterward Calloway had stints at Stratford Ontario's Shakespeare Festival and quickly found himself on the Broadway and off-Broadway stages. Even once he got his regular gig on Sesame Street, the theatre proved to be an essential part of Calloway's life. He appeared on the New York stage throughout the rest of his life in various productions.

Northern Calloway was hired in 1971 as the first "new" human character since Sesame Street's debut. His character, David, was created to be a positive older brother type character that might appeal to African American kids.

David was hip, talked in jive, and was more in tune to street life than the older black characters, Gordon and Susan.

However, what made David unique and a positive role model to urban children was that unlike the older boys that got involved in drugs and gangs in their neighbourhoods, David was not only studying in university to become a lawyer but he also held a part time job at Mr. Hooper's store...and STILL managed to be the coolest cat on Sesame Street.

Northern Calloway also voiced the jive talkin' rhyming Muppet "Same Sound Brown" which was sort of a Roosevelt Franklin knock off after the character was retired when Matt Robinson left the series. Eventually David was even dating the prettiest girl on the street, Spanish character Maria which was the first inter-racial relationship on children's television.

However, when Maria eventually married Luis in 1988, just prior to Calloway quietly leaving Sesame Street, viewers kind of wondered what was up.

What was up was that Northern Calloway was diagnosed earlier that year with stomach cancer. While he battled the disease for a little while on television, he was soon unable to continue work on Sesame Street and opted to be quietly written out of the series. However, Northern Calloway's battle with cancer ended in January of 1990, only months after he left Sesame Street.

Unfortunately, Calloway's family rushed him to the closest hospital that happened to be a psychiatric hospital, which created rumors that Calloway had died in an asylum. Tragically these rumors were believable due to an unexplained episode in Calloway's life ten years earlier.

In 1980 Nashville Tennessee police arrested a half naked Northern Calloway, who was wearing nothing but a Superman T-shirt, during a wild rampage in a quiet residential neighbourhood. Calloway had been in Nashville performing a Sesame Street themed stage production while staying at the home of the theatre's marketing director. Apparently, sometime during the evening of September 20th, Calloway had beat his host with a metal iron, causing her to suffer a head injury and broken ribs, before tearing off half naked to the streets. In his rampage Calloway managed to break a series of windows, as well as take the iron to a car. Police found him by following a trail of the actors blood, caused by cuts suffered by shattered glass, and Calloway was reported to the police as muttering strange phrases and trying to eat grass. As police and ambulance drivers attempted to strap the enraged Calloway to a stretcher he was reported to have screamed "I'm David of Sesame Street and they're trying to kill me." When finally being interviewed days later about his rampage, Calloway was quoted by the Nashville Tennessean as saying, "It will be a sad, sad thing for the children to hear about this. I can't remember a thing. I've never had a spell like this before." Calloway was transferred to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute for further study. However, the strange story of Northern Calloway's insanity ends there. The woman whom he attacked lived and soon Calloway was not only out of the hospital but back on Sesame Street without the CTW batting an eyelash, and would play the role for another nine years without incident.

Obviously Northern Calloway's rampage was an isolated incident of temporary insanity and the story was quickly swept under the rug, allowing Northern Calloway to keep both his reputation and his career. However, those who remembered Calloway's night of madness were quick to jump over the actors legacy when they found out that during his death he was treated at a psychiatric hospital.

In reality Northern Calloway lost consciousness shortly after arriving at the psychiatric hospital and was immediately transported to the nearby Phelps Memorial Hospital where he died at age 41. Thankfully the stories of Northern Calloway's madness were only told in whispers and rumors, thus not tainting his memory. Instead he will always be remembered as the funky and friendly singing hipster.

However, it has been asked many times why Sesame Street never dealt with Northern Calloway's death in the same fashion as they did with Will Lee. The CTW felt that two major character deaths in a short span of years may be pushing the envelope a bit too much, thus it was explained that David had gone to live on his grandmother's farm to help her, but still owned Hooper's Store (which Mr. Hooper had willed to him) and managed it from afar while Gina ran the store.

The CTW would honour the memory of Northern Calloway in their own way. When Elmo began his solo adventures he was often accompanied by a little orange Muppet-like stuffed toy which he had named David. Elmo's favourite toy would be a tribute to Northern Calloway so that the name David would always be connected to Sesame Street.

The lives and the stories about these three Sesame Street actors only prove, once again, that there are stories to be told from all the actors that forge the path of our pop culture journey. Often, such as in the case of shows like Sesame Street, they are taken for granted for just "being there" instead of the stories of their lives and their careers being told. Hopefully these three talented and unique men will never be forgotten by the children that loved them, and the public that will never forget them. May their legacies live on, just as the Muppets that they played with still do.

Northern Calloway, Actor, 41, on Stage And 'Sesame Street'
NY Times January 13, 1990

LEAD: Northern J. Calloway, who played David, the proprietor of Mr. Hooper's store, on public television's ''Sesame Street,'' died Tuesday. He was 41 years old and lived in Ossining, N.Y.

Northern J. Calloway, who played David, the proprietor of Mr. Hooper's store, on public television's ''Sesame Street,'' died Tuesday. He was 41 years old and lived in Ossining, N.Y.

The Westchester County Medical Examiner's office said Mr. Calloway had been taken to a psychiatric facility, Stony Lodge Hospital, in Ossining, where he had lost consciousness shortly after his arrival. He was then taken to Phelps Memorial Hospital in North Tarrytown, N.Y., where he was pronounced dead. The cause of death has not been determined.

Mr. Calloway joined the cast of ''Sesame Street'' during its fourth season in 1972 and left it last year. He began his career in 1966 with the Lincoln Center Repertory Company just two days after graduating from the High School of Performing Arts in New York.

During the next season he appeared at the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, in ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'' and ''The Three Musketeers.'' On Broadway he was in ''The Me Nobody Knows'' and the Off-Broadway rock musical ''Salvation.''

Mr. Calloway appeared as the Leading Player in the Broadway hit ''Pippin,'' a role he also played in London and at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, N.J.

He was also seen on Broadway in 1980 as the orderly in ''Whose Life Is It Anyway?'' with Mary Tyler Moore, and appeared as Louis Armstrong in the New Federal Theater's production of ''Louis'' in 1981.

Surviving are his mother, Bunnetta Calloway, and a brother, Gregory, both of Manhattan, and his sister, Connie Jackson, of Baltimore.

What happened to Mr Gordon?


Matt Robinson (Jan 1, 1937- August 5, 2002) was a writer, producer, and actor who originated the role of Gordon on Sesame Street, playing the part from 1969 to 1972. Robinson also created the character of Roosevelt Franklin, and performed Roosevelt's voice. [1]

Most people immediately identify bald African American actor Roscoe Orman, who has been playing Gordon since 1973, as the character. However, when Sesame Street first debuted in 1969 a very different Gordon appeared on television screens. Actor Matt Robinson played the fatherly school teacher as a tall man with a huge black pantheresque afro and huge assed mutton chops. Originally Gordon was the central character on Sesame Street who was your guide around the block. Gordon was both hip and professional as well as kind but a bit stern at times. However, Matt Robinson was far more important on the Sesame Street set than just playing the character of Gordon. Matt Robinson also worked as a writer and producer on the series and the majority of the ground breaking multicultural and racial politics that the early days of Sesame Street are famous for were a direct result of Matt Robinson's influence on the series.

Matt Robinson, who grew up on the streets of Philadelphia as a child, became well known throughout the 1960s for writing and producing black-orientated television dramas and public affair programs. His reputation gained the attention of the CTW when they formed in 1966, whose vision was to create a children's program that would speak to children of all different races and cultures, with special attention aimed towards the urban children and black kids which kids shows had never before been aimed towards them. Thus, Matt Robinson's work in television fit their vision. Robinson was originally hired by the CTW as only a producer and a writer but when they had a hard time finding the perfect actor to play fatherly Gordon Robinson, Matt Robinson stepped up to the plate.

Matt Robinson looked to the role of Gordon to make a difference to black children all over North America. He knew that one of the continuous problems for black children was a lack of positive black male role models in their lives and that they often lacked father figures. In the 1971 book All About Sesame Street, Robinson was quoted as saying, "somewhere around four and five a black kid is going to learn he's black. He's going to learn that's positive or negative. What I want to project is a positive image." As a result Robinson used a mixture of proper English and street slang so that black children could relate to him and he could create a more natural connection between him and the viewer. However, some of Robinson's political views often created conflict within the room of the writers. One famous account of this occurred when the CTW decided that Gordon's wife Susan was to go and get a job as a nurse. Robinson felt that another key problem in black neighbourhoods was the fact that women were in the workplace and not staying home to make sure their children were not getting into trouble, which was a direct contradiction to the 1970s feminist values that the CTW was beginning to incorporate into Sesame Street. As a result, when the episode aired, even on the screen Gordon's reluctance to accept Susan as a nurse managed to seep through.

Matt Robinson was also key in developing the first black influenced Muppets with Jim Henson. Robinson and Henson worked together on the Roosevelt Franklin sketches in the early 1970s with Robinson providing the voice for the Muppet. Roosevelt Franklin was a jive talking, scat singing Muppet who was kind of a child like cross between Ray Charles and James Brown. Other Muppets developed by Robinson and Henson were Baby Ray Francis, Mobley Mosey, and Hispanic Muppet A. B. Cito. Robinson's urban Muppet characters were featured on the album "The Year of Roosevelt Franklin," which not only contained songs about learning the alphabet, safety tips, the days of the week and the months of the year, but also songs about racial issues as well.

Robinson also penned the very first Sesame Street themed children's book titled Gordon of Sesame Street's Storybook.. The 1972 book contained four original children stories written by Robinson, as well as a cartoon caricature of him reading to children on the front cover.

Matt Robinson played the role of Gordon on television, stage, and in recordings for four years and gave the part up in 1972 to move to other things. However, Robinson occasionally still worked with the CTW up until 1974, primarily on Roosevelt Franklin material. With Gordon being such an important part of Sesame Street the CTW had no desire to retire the character with Robinson's departure and recast the character with actor Hal Miller for a single season and then, finally, with today's Gordon, Roscoe Orman. However, the CTW never recast a role again. As Orman explained it, children had a hard time dealing with cast changes of that type: "The kids who were on the show that first season would not accept me as Gordon. One day there's Hal Miller as Gordon and the next day there's this new guy who says he's Gordon... the kids, both on the show and at home... they just assume that we are that person we're playing."

After Sesame Street Matt Robinson continued in television - most notably as producer and/or contributing writer on Sanford and Son, Captain Kangaroo, and The Cosby Show. In 1982 Robinson was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease but managed to battle through it for twenty years, finally submitting to the disease in 2002. Although most generations of children that watched Sesame Street never saw Robinson as Gordon, Matt Robinson left his legacy on the series as a pioneering series dealing with race and multiculturalism that helped create a more tolerant world as children learnt racial diversity at a far younger age. Perhaps Robinson may not be the actor immediately identified as Gordon, but his vision made a difference.


Hal Miller, also known as Harold Miller, was the second actor to play Gordon on Sesame Street. He appeared on the show in Season 4 and Season 5, before passing on the role to Roscoe Orman.

Miller had previously performed on and off-Broadway in such stage plays as The Perfect Party, Narrow Road to the Deep North, and Twelfth Night. After Sesame Street, his film credits were limited to the independent film Distance, the sex comedy If You Don't Stop It... You'll Go Blind!!!, The Warriors (with Lynne Thigpen), and Born in Flames. TV credits include two appearances on Law & Order. In recent years, he has performed cabaret extensively in Europe and Southeast Asia.


Roscoe Orman (born June 11, 1944, in The Bronx, New York) is an American actor who plays Gordon Robinson on the television show Sesame Street. Orman joined the show in 1973, taking over as the third actor to play Gordon on the show (subsequent to Matt Robinson, 1969-1972, and Hal Miller, 1972-1973). The 38th season of Sesame Street marks Orman's 33rd as Gordon, a science teacher who is married to Susan and the father of Miles.

Orman was also featured in the blaxploitation film, Willie Dynamite in the eponymous lead role.

In September 2007, his children's book Ricky and Mobo was released.

Orman and his wife and daughter Cheyenne are residents of Montclair, New Jersey. His son, Miles Orman was on Sesame Street playing Gordon's son Miles Robinson from the mid-1980's into the early 1990's. Miles is a student at Marist College.