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Bridges: `Every four years it's nice to reminisce'.

Byline: Bill Ballou


Alice Bridges Roche possesses at least two things not many other 92-year-olds have, a cell phone and an Olympic bronze medal.

Reached on that cell phone last month in Carlisle, Pa., where she makes her home these days, Mrs. Roche was quite happy to talk about that bronze medal, won in the 1936 Berlin Olympics which were, given the circumstances CIRCUMSTANCES, evidence. The particulars which accompany a fact.
     2. The facts proved are either possible or impossible, ordinary and probable, or extraordinary and improbable, recent or ancient; they may have happened near us, or afar off; they are public or
 of the day and the perspective of history, perhaps the most significant games of the 20th Century.

"It was a long time ago," she said, "but every four years it's nice to reminisce rem·i·nisce  
intr.v. rem·i·nisced, rem·i·nisc·ing, rem·i·nisc·es
To recollect and tell of past experiences or events.

[Back-formation from reminiscence.

While she has not lived in this area for years, making her home in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Mrs. Roche graduated from Uxbridge High in 1934 and learned to swim in the pool at the Whitin Community Center in Whitinsville. It was there that she, swimming as Alice Bridges, perfected her skills in the backstroke, and it was the 100-meter backstroke in which she finished third in Berlin.

She was edged by two swimmers from the Netherlands. Nida Senff Dina ("Nida") Willemina Jacoba Senff (born April 3, 1920 in Rotterdam — died June 27, 1995 in Amstelveen) was a swimmer from The Netherlands, who won the 100 metres backstroke at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.  won the event in 1:18.9 followed by Rie Mastenbroek Hendrika ("Rie") Wilhelmina Mastenbroek (February 26, 1919 – November 6, 2003) was a Dutch swimmer and a triple Olympic champion. Biography
Born in Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland, she started swimming under the coaching of "Ma" Braun, who had coached her daughter to an
 in 1:19.2. Bridges' time was 1:19.4. The finish was so close that, in an era before electronic timing, it took the judges five minutes to determine the order of finish and twice Bridges' name was posted for the silver medal.

Winning a medal of any color was a most unlikely accomplishment given all that went into Bridges even getting to Berlin.

It was the depths of the Great Depression and money for the American Olympic effort was so tight that Bridges went to the games only because supporters back in the Blackstone Valley raised $500 to pay for the boat trip over. Then, on the trip, the leading American female backstroker, Eleanor Holm Eleanor G. Holm (December 6, 1913 – January 31, 2004) was an American swimmer. An Olympic champion, she is best known for having been suspended from the 1936 Olympic team.

Born the daughter of a fireman in Brooklyn, New York, Holm learned swimming while very young.
 Jarrett, was kicked off the team for drinking. She was considered to be the only American with a chance to take a medal in the 100-meter backstroke, but Bridges came up with a stunning performance and eventually returned to the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area.  as a hero.

She has frequently returned to the Blackstone Valley for events recognizing her achievements. And while the '36 Olympics happened 72 summers ago, Mrs. Roche's memories of the event are crystal clear and momentous mo·men·tous  
Of utmost importance; of outstanding significance or consequence: a momentous occasion; a momentous decision.
. At a luncheon for her in 2006 when a bridge in Uxbridge was named after her, for instance, she casually leaned over to someone sitting in the next chair over and said, "I met Hitler, you know."

That happened during the team introductions. During a May television interview with Chuck Rhodes of WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, Pa., Mrs. Roche said, "I just stood there and looked at (Hitler) and I though, `you're supposed to be so famous and you're just so ordinary looking.' Of course, I didn't have hate in my heart then for him, but when I think about him, I have a lot of hate."

Olympians were truly amateurs in 1936 and after the excitement of capturing the bronze medal finally died down, Alice Bridges went about the business of life. She got a job at a pool in Trenton, N.J. and while there met her future husband, Joseph Roche, with whom she shared a 50-year marriage. She became a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a great-great grandmother.

Through all of that, and even into today, she swam swam  
Past tense of swim.


the past tense of swim

swam swim

"I swim almost every day," said Mrs. Roche, who turned 92 on July 19, "or as much as I can. At least three times a week. I've been very fortunate with my swimming. It has been one of the most important things in my life."

She is looking forward to the upcoming games.

"Absolutely. I'll watch as much as I can. I'm very interested," she said, but even though Dara Torres Dara Grace Torres (born April 15, 1967, in Los Angeles, California) is an American swimmer. She was the second swimmer from her country (after Jill Sterkel) to compete in four Olympics: 1984, 1988, 1992, and 2000. , 41, is in the Olympics for a fifth time, Mrs. Roche is not contemplating a comeback Comeback

Australian breed of wool sheep, bred by crossing Merino with Corriedale, Polwarth or Zenith sheep; wool is 21 to 25 microns. It is a registered breed, but the term is more commonly used in the sense of a type of sheep produced by crossbreeding a crossbred Merino back to Merino.

"Oh no," she said. "These days, I just do a couple of laps."

She is never too far away from her bronze medal. She brought it with her to the ceremonies in 2006 in Uxbridge and from time to time now, people will inquire in·quire   also en·quire
v. in·quired, in·quir·ing, in·quires

1. To seek information by asking a question: inquired about prices.

 about it. "I have it locked up safely," he said, "but if anyone asks to see it, I can get it for them, and I'm happy to show them."

The passage of 72 years has only made it look brighter, no doubt.

Alice Bridges

Olympics: 1936 (Berlin)

Sport/event: Swimming/100-meter backstroke (bronze medal)

Central Mass. connection: Graduated from Uxbridge High in 1934 and learned to swim in the pool at the Whitin Community Center in Whitinsville

What is she doing now: Lives in Carlisle, Pa.

Coming tomorrow: Soccer player Mike Burns

For other people named Michael Burns, see Michael Burns (disambiguation).
Michael Thomas (Mike) Burns (born September 14, 1970 in Marlborough, Massachusetts) is a retired professional and United States national team soccer defender and current
 of Marlboro


CUTLINE: Alice Bridges

Alice Bridges
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Aug 10, 2008
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