Olympian Park in Towson honors medalists from Baltimore County, but does not include Tommy Hannan, a Mount St. Joseph grad who won gold at the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Why doesn’t Tommy Hannan have a spot in Baltimore County’s Olympian Park?
The green space was dedicated in 2010, where Joppa and York Roads converge at the Towson roundabout, right next to The Catholic Corner, the book and gift shop on Allegheny Avenue.
It acknowledges Michael Phelps and other swimmers from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, such as Anita Nall, who went to Towson Catholic High. There is also recognition of Paralympians, such as swimmer Jessica Long. I couldn’t get anyone from the Baltimore County Office of Communications to return a phone call, but a county press release dated July 8, 2010, found online reads that the purpose of the park is to honor “Baltimore County athletes who have won medals in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Hannan did that at the Sydney Olympics, in 2000, winning a gold medal in swimming’s 400-meter medley relay, where he handled the butterfly leg for the United States in the preliminaries. A student at the University of Texas ( where he would earn a degree in finance) at the time, he was just two years removed from Mount St. Joseph High, where the Class of 1998 also included New York Yankees’ first baseman Mark Teixeira. Before that, Hannan went to St. Agnes School. His parents, “Big Tom” and Georgia, still reside in Catonsville. His family has roots here, as Georgia was in one of the first graduating classes at Archbishop Keough High.
Hannan is the national group coach for the King Aquatic Club in Seattle, where he has been living and working for six years. The Olympian Park slight was news to him.
“I cherished the Olympic experience,” Hannan said in a July 18 phone conversation, “but I would never tell kids that winning a gold medal is a crowning achievement in life. I don’t think I’ve had one yet.”
Hannan won MIAA titles for Mount St. Joseph, but did most of his training with the Eagle Swim Team, which is based at McDonogh School. He’ll be doing a camp there Sept. 15.
Maybe by then, Baltimore County can give Hannan the recognition due him.
July 20, 2012 03:07
By Paul McMullen