- About the Authors
- Video clips
- For the Media
|Book Description (Annotation)
For the average pole vaulter, what could trump winning an Olympic gold medal? For 1960 Olympic gold medalist Don Bragg the answer was easy: open a camp where inner-city boys could have a taste of the great outdoors and play some vital scholastic catch-up. For ten years, Don and his wife Theresa treated hundreds of kids to such a program, ably abetted by a cast of characters that ranged from a talented and terrifying chef, through a score of pranksters turned den mothers, all the way up to The Greatest himself, Muhammad Ali.
With the grandeur of the New Jersey Pinelands as a backdrop, the kids who called Kamp Olympik home wrestled with fractions and capsized canoes, and turned ingenious in the never-ending game of Can You Top This? Don and his dedicated staff showed their young charges how to compete in the classroom, on the playing field, and in the art of growing up great. And the kids even learned how to pole vault. Kamp Olympik forever!
BISAC subjects: BIOGRAPHY/ AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs; HISTORY / United States / State & Local / Middle Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA); SPORTS & RECREATION / Camping; ETHNIC / African-American / Juveniles
About Don Bragg
Olympic gold medalist Don Bragg had a Huck Finn childhood growing up in Penns Grove, New Jersey. His adulation of the movie character Tarzan led him to construct rope swings in the trees surrounding his house, beginning a lifelong identification with his hero. He started pole vaulting on a dare from the leader of his childhood gang, and became a leading high school vaulter, though essentially self-taught. He continued to perfect his sport at Villanova University on an athletic scholarship, but a fluke denied him a place on the 1956 Olympic team. Undeterred, Don maintained his conditioning for the next four years, while touring Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa. He set a pole vaulting world's record at the 1960 Olympic trials, a mark that has never been surpassed with a metal pole. He went on to take the gold at the 1960 Games in Rome. His unforgettable homage to his boyhood hero was a resounding Tarzan yell on the medals platform.
His youthful dream came within a hair's breadth of being realized when he received three invitations to assume the role of Tarzan in the movies. The first two were frustrated by injuries; the filming of the third was nearing completion when a legal dispute over copyright shut down the production.
His subsequent career was dedicated to the twin goals of excellence and helping others: Don served on the staff of Governor Richard Hughes of New Jersey and was the founding director of athletics at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where he created an innovative athletics program.
It took courage and determination for Don Bragg to reach the medal platform at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Winning the gold medal, however, was just the start of this pole vaulter and sometime Tarzan's adventures. Never one to rest on his laurels, Don found a unique way to reprise his success at the Olympic Games—in 1968, with the help of his wife, Theresa Fiore Bragg, Don opened Kamp Olympik in the Jersey Pinelands. For ten years, the Braggs and their four children welcomed campers to a program of fun and games as well as solid tutorials in reading and math. It is a time that the Braggs till cherish.
Don now resides in California with his wife Theresa, In addition to Kamp Olympik, Don has also penned the autobiographical A Chance to Dare: The Don Bragg Story, as well as Reflections of Gold, a collection of his poetry.
Theresa Fiore Bragg
Married to Don Bragg for over forty-five years, Theresa Fiore Bragg was an integral part of Kamp Olympik’s operation and played an active role in Don’s special events company as well. This firm programmed numerous Olympic fund-raisers and introduced the Iranian hostages for their first public appearance upon their return to America. Theresa also served as the public relations director for Merv Griffin’s casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
She attended Catholic University in Washington, DC, for a summer program in journalism and claims a hands-on “doctorate” for over forty years of programming, producing, and coordinating numerous special events in the United States and Europe.
Even in the face of her many accomplishments, her status as a mother of four and the grandmother of eleven is her greatest source of pride.
Don’s co-author for his autobiography, A Chance to Dare, as well as for Kamp Olympik, Patricia Doherty is the author of the Disman Shaunessey mysteries, published by Denlinger’s, including The Face of Evil, Moffatt Square, and Of Murder and Marigolds. Her subsequent project was writing the text for a commission her composer husband received from the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus. A native of Washington, DC, Patricia was a resident of California at the time of her death in December 2008.
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I went to camp olympik more than once! It was a great time! Thank you Don for the wonderful memories.
ebizvideopro 1 week ago (June 2011)
Yessss!!!!!!! From a Kamp OlympiK alumnus thank you so much Mr. Bragg!!
Yes, I remember Tarzanville, the dirt bikes, the mess hall & being a waiter, cabin inspections & letrine duty :( boxing matches at the campfire. Talent nite & top camper awards. Not to mention the scary stories & sily songs @ campfire like Tongo!, Old Hogans Goat & the silly kids who could never get John Jacob Jingleheimer Scmidt right!
It was a great thing for city kids. I loved it the 3 years I went. Thanx again!
shbzz7 1 year ago
Chapter one (secure PDF file)
© 2008 Don Bragg.
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For the media
Press releases, Web articles
"Local Hero Returns Home Golden to Share His Story of Victory On and Off the
16 October 2008 (PDF)
Olympic Gold Medalist And Author Don Bragg Hopes Book Kamp Olympik Will Thrill Camps’ Alumni
27 Aug 2009 (PDF)
Kamp Olympik media room images and more