Kruse's Silver Medal
Pam Kruse at her bike shop in Jenison
JENISON, Mich. (WZZM) - On Friday, the world will gather in London for the Summer Olympic Games. More than 10,000 athletes will begin looking for gold.
One West Michigan resident is turning back the clock 44 years, remembering the pageantry surrounding the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Pam Kruse was a member of the United States' Women's Swim Team that year. She held four world records heading into those summer games:
- 440 Yard Freestyle - 1966
- 400 Meter Freestyle - 1967
- 400 Meter Freestyle - 1967 (Broke Previously Held)
- 200 Meter Freestyle - 1967
"United States was a powerhouse in swimming," said Kruse, who co-owns the Village Bike Shop with her husband in Jenison. "One of our goals [in 1968] was to sweep the podium in the freestyle events."
Kruse held the world record in the 200 meter freestyle going into the 1968 Olympic Trials, but she ended up finishing in fourth place by a few tenths of a second. She failed to make the U.S. Swim Team in the race she was best.
She ended up making the team in two events - the 400 and 800 Freestyles.
"There was a lot of pressure," said Kruse. "I thought I was going to go home without a medal. My parents and my coach sacrificed an awful lot. I knew I had to make it happen."
That's exactly what she did, winning the silver medal in the 800 freestyle.
"It wasn't until the end that I touched the wall, and I looked around and said, 'alright!'", said Kruse. "It means more to me now than it did then."