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from the ashes of tragedy...(3 posts)

from the ashes of tragedy...rollo tommassi
Jun 16, 2001 9:41 AM
From cyclingnews.com today -

Saturn to build Playground in Arlington to honour Nicole Reinhart

Saturn Cycling Team members along with Saturn retailers and the community of Arlington, Mass., will gather on Saturday, June 23 to build a playground in honour of Nicole Reinhart, a former member of the squad who died in a race in Arlington last September 17.

The playground will be built at Cutter Park, on School Street off of Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington, and will be named the Nicole L. Reinhart Memorial Playground at Cutter Park.

The construction will be organized by Saturn of Medford retailer Adam York along with Brad Miller, who is Saturn's east regional market area manager, and it will be dedicated on July 7, the day prior to a race in Arlington. Joining in the effort will be Saturn Cycling Team members Frank McCormack and Mark McCormack, both nearby residents, and Andy Lee, director of operations for the team. At a future date a plaque with an inscription set in a special stone will be placed adjacent to the playground.

York and Miller were viewing their first bicycle race on that fateful day when the elation of Nicole's potential victory and a $250,000 prize that went with it was suddenly shattered by the accident that resulted in her death. The 24-year-old rising star in American cycling went off the course and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital 30 minutes later.

Deeply moved by the tragedy and how the community of cycling worked its way through the events of the day and the tremendous grief that followed, York immediately became determined to honor the fallen star.

"It struck a cord with me," said York, who vowed on that day to do something in her honor. "It was such a tragic and sad event. I started by talking to the city, which said a good way to honor her would be to build a playground."

The site was chosen - Cutter Park, which was sorely in need of a playground upgrade but lacking funds to facilitate the improvement. Located in an area with a lot of young children, there was tremendous community support for this endeavor, as well as financial support from Saturn.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, the Nicole Reinhart Foundation was started using the $250,000 she would have received had she won the Arlington race, the fourth in a series. The prize was to go to any racer who could win all four over the course of the 2000 season and Nicole had captured the three previous events. The NRF is partially funding the Saturn Cycling Development Team, which is composed of 14 athletes who are all aspiring cyclists, including Nicole's younger brother Tim.

Across the country, cycling programs are creating awards and honors named after Nicole, to encourage young riders that show the same determination and dedication as she did. Recently some young riders were honored at the Lehigh County Velodrome near Allentown, Penn., where Nicole grew up and spent much of her early racing career.
How can one feel hopeless when we have this capacity for good?Len J
Jun 16, 2001 1:14 PM
Thanks for passing this on, Rollo.boy nigel
Jun 16, 2001 4:48 PM
Though I knew little of Nicole before her death, I really felt sad when I read about it. Being a former racer myself, and knowing many people--men and women--who raced or still do, it also gave me a lot to think about. Devastating news.

Big thanks for relaying this kind and sweet deed to us on the board. I figured that some type of memorial would be erected at some point in her honor, but this news is bright news indeed. She brought smiles and inspiration to so many she touched; it's only right that her memory may live on to benefit still more people (especially young ones).

Good work, Rollo. By the way, I caught L.A. Confidential on (I believe it was HBO) t.v. the other night (I'd seen it before though--great flick), and thought of you. Cool moniker.

Cheers,
Nigel