Flashback Friday: Huron Mental Olympics of 1984

Local News

HURON, S.D. (KELO) — The 2020 Olympics were postponed to this year due to the pandemic, and athletes are preparing their bodies to compete. But there are some competitions that work the body’s largest muscle, the brain. In this week’s Flashback Friday, we take you back to 1984 and show you how students faired in a Mental Olympics.

They came from all over the state to compete in contests that range from practical engineering projects, to skits about knights and chivalrous deeds. The knights were blind-folded and moved through obstacles with only the command of noise patterns. The towers that supported hundreds of pounds were made from balsa wood.

“Mostly, well, the man i was putting the weights on with, Bill Schultz, me and him have, well last year in Rapid City,  we had the most steady hands of anybody you could say. We had a few problems of trying to figure out who’s gonna put the weights on. And so, mostly we’re just trying, you know, we don’t wanna make any quick moves or anything to where the structure would collapse.”

The Huron team took 3 weeks to build their tower. Fry said it was tense as the weights were being applied.

“Oh, it was really scary, you know, cause we knew we were far off from the teams ahead of us. So, we were trying to, you know, we wanted to figure out which weights would be best on where, you know, to ration it our.”

The rules required the tower to stand as pieces were removed. The Huron team’s structure did not hold as much weight as others did.  In many of the events, the unique style with which the team competed in an event was also judged. Showmanship would give a team more points. Since participation doubled this year, the state is planning on having another Olympic competition next year, where more minds will be tested. Dan Swanson, KELOLAND News, Huron.

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