Two Olympians who work at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) shared their knowledge of the sports that put them in record books during this month’s Olympic Day at the Child and Youth Program summer camps.
Ramona Pagel, a shot putter and discus thrower who competed in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, and Kim Kreiner, who threw the javelin in 2004 and 2008, talked with about two dozen youngsters at the Point Mugu summer camp the morning of June 22, then chatted with about 60 children in the afternoon at the Port Hueneme camp.
Pagel is the director of the Bee-Fit Health and Wellness Center at NBVC Port Hueneme, and Kreiner is a fitness instructor and personal trainer there.
Kreiner would leave a few days later for Eugene, Ore., to compete for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
The athletes started by asking the children what sports they enjoyed, and the answers were all over the board.
“You are so far ahead of the curve,” Pagel told them. “You have so much information on sports. When I was in school I had no idea what any of this stuff was. I had no exposure to sports at all.”
That segued into goals. Staying in shape, staying in school, getting good grades — they’re all important, the women stressed.
“Figure out what your goals are and how you’ll meet them,” Pagel said. “Your dreams can come true.”
After the pep talk, the athletes showed the youngsters how to throw the shot, javelin and discus. A softball substituted for the 9-pound shot — or cannonball, as Pagel described it — a Nerf-style turbo javelin subbed for a real javelin and a Frisbee took the place of a discus.
But it gave the youngsters a taste of three sports lesser known than football and baseball.
“I think this is a great idea,” Kreiner said. “It gives kids experience in different events. There aren’t many states that have javelin programs outside of high school. This gives them some experience.”