Wednesday, May 23, 2001

Olympian helps with tribute

Corbett honored for civic work

By E.K. Meister
Enquirer Contributor

        COVINGTON — Two-time Olympic gold-medalist Dot Richardson helped award the Metropolitan Club's version of gold to Tristate civic champion Patricia Corbett Tuesday night.

        Members of the Metropolitan Club's Board of Governors created the Metropolitan Award in 1995 to recognize people who have displayed “exponential effort toward improving the lives of citizens” as well as helping to unify civic and business organizations, said board member Lauren Abel.

        “This is very much like the Olympics — it's about the best of the best, and Mrs. Corbett is just that,” said Ms. Richardson in an interview before the presentation.

        The guest speaker every year at the dinner is an Olympian. All proceeds from the event go to the U.S. Olympic Committee. Tuesday's dinner raised $104,000 for the committee.

        Mrs. Corbett, known for her champion-level support of the arts throughout the Tristate, claims, though, that she never wanted to be any kind of a leader.

        “It just worked out that way. But I'm happy to take on a leadership role when it's expected of me. It's an opportunity to show the leadership qualities that everyone has and to show that others can do just as I have,” Mrs. Corbett said during an interview Tuesday.

        In addition to once running and now chairing the board of the Corbett Foundation, founded in 1955, she is known as a strong supporter of the arts in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati..

        Ms. Richardson, now an orthopedic surgeon living in Florida, presented the keynote address in Mrs. Corbett's honor, but holds international fame herself in athletics.

        She scored the game-winning home run for her U.S. softball team in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga.

        Dr. Richardson, who completed medical school at the University of Louisville, said sports are especially important for women because of the opportunities they offer academically. “I've been able to watch and experience how scholarships for women athletes have evolved. They really open doors,” she said.

        She also said she's seen a new recognition of women athletes. “I've heard people call 1996 the Olympics for women because of all the women's team sports — softball, gymnastics, soccer, synchronized swimming. But for me, it was a spark” that has resulted in national professional sports organizations, such as the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and women's soccer, softball, and even football leagues, she said.

        Tuesday's awards dinner, the Metropolitan Club's seventh annual, served a sold-out crowd of 245. But then, it's sold out every year since its inception. Over those years, between the black-tie dinners and silent auctions, the organization has contributed more than $540,000 to the U.S. Olympic Committee, Ms. Abel said.

        Past award recipients include Otto M. Budig Jr., Ed and Carole Rigaud, William P. Butler, Joseph H. Head Jr., Joseph P. Hayden and Oliver Waddell.


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