STORYCORPS CONVERSATION

Click the play button above to listen to Carol Lindsey and Kim Clarke reminisce about how they found the sport of team handball and worked their way to become Olympians.

Carol “Coke” Lindsey and Kim Clarke

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Carol Lindsey first heard of team handball in 1974. The International Olympic Committee had just added women’s team handball as an Olympic sport for the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Team USA was going to field a team and try to qualify.

“Their plan of attack was to recruit all-around athletes from college teams, bring us together, teach us and see if we could qualify,” said Lindsey, who often went by the nickname “Coke” as she played basketball at Purdue University. “The basketball coach at Purdue said, ‘You should try this.’ “

Lindsey also was a starting halfback on the Purdue field hockey team (a sport she never played before college) and started at shortstop for the Purdue softball team.

Team handball, though, was where she found a home. While the U.S. did not qualify for the Montreal Games and Team USA boycotted the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, Lindsey made her Olympic debut at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

“It is definitely a family sport,” Lindsey said. “Once you’re in, you’re hooked and you’re family forever.”

Kim Clarke certainly had family to thank for becoming a three-time Olympian in team handball. Her sister saw a magazine ad looking for candidates for the U.S. junior national team and sent in an application for Kim.

“Which I did not know about,” Clarke said, noting that she first knew about this when she received a letter in the mail inviting her to attend a tryout in Colorado Springs.

Clarke made the team and, at age 16, moved to New Jersey to begin training.

“It is amazing when I tell my friends now, how my parents let me go at such a young age,” Clarke said.

Listen to Lindsey and Clarke discuss their beginnings in team handball and the impact the sport made on their lives.

 

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