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ABOUT SIM INESS

"He inspired people. He's just a regular guy. Everybody loved Sim. And when he worked hard, everybody worked hard, and carried the team along." –Olympian Bob Mathias

"The guy that was there, the first guy to get me off the airplane, was Sim." -Olympian Bob Mathias on his homecoming after his 1948 Olympic win

"Winning the decathlon again was a big thrill, but so was watching my former classmate excel. That was the biggest thrill I ever had, watching Sim do so well and seeing him win that Olympic medal." –Olympian Bob Mathias

"I'll always remember Sim as a good fine friend, and a great competitor, and a great athlete, and a great champion." -Olympian Bob Mathias

"As long as the Olympics are held and I'm around, I'll think of Sim Iness. Back at Tulare Union High School in California, where we were teammates as kids, we both had visions of making the American team in 1948. Sim didn't get the breaks I got. He finished sixth, and out, in the final team trials, and if he seemed to be a choked up guy when he saw me off, I could readily understand it. It's a long time between Olympic Games, and you usually don't get a second chance.
But Sim wouldn't let go of his dream. He had competitive Cherokee Indian blood in him, and he made the team in 1952. Then, at Helsinki, he uncorked a discus throw that won him a gold medal, beat the defending champion and set a new Olympic record. Sim weighs 245 and stands six feet, six inches, but he was floating on air right then. I'll never forget the cablegram he sent his wife Jeane, in Los Angeles: 'We did it. I love you 1,000 times. Distance 180 feet, 6.58 inches.'
Sim said 'we' because nobody wins an Olympic title alone; it's a team accomplishment all the way. In that cablegram he told Jeane what every woman wants to hear, plus how happy he was to win for her and the folks at home. Mentioning the distance was Sim's pride speaking. If you don't have pride in your ability, bed-rock confidence, you'll never make it to the top." -Olympian Bob Mathias, excerpt from 1956 article by Mathias entitled 'What It's Like To Go To The Olympics'

"Big Sim cast a great shadow of warm friendship and good across all who knew him during his all too short 65 years of life." –Tom Hennion, former Tulare, California newspaper editor

"As big as he was, his heart was just as big." -Dick Bramer, life long friend, high school and college teammate, and college roommate

"Sim Iness, the burly giant from Tulare and now a student at Southern California, is a fellow who came up the hard way to reach the sports pinnacle in his favorite event. Several others, among them the most expert of track critics, believed that Iness, for all his natural skill, was too inconsistent to stand the pressure of Olympic competition. It's to his credit that Iness had the same uphill fight there that he has had in almost his entire athletic career—and that he met the challenge like a champion." -George T. Davis, in his July 23, 1952 column 'For Sake of Sport'

"The greatest story out of the Olympics, was the story of the little town of Tulare which produced two gold medal winners. This is all the more remarkable when you realize that only 24 gold medals were awarded for track and field events. Russia, Germany, Great Britain, Asia, and Africa won none; all of the continent of South America won only one. The United States won 14, and of those, two came home to our favorite town of Tulare." -Harold Berliner, National AAU Vice-President and U.S. Olympic team manager

"Sim was really a quiet and sensitive man. Sim had a special touch with young people. Some coaches have that ability to get the most out of the kids; he was an encourager in his own quiet way, and showed a lot of leadership." -Tiny Hill, former Porterville High School football player for Sim

"We were very, very special to have a man like that (Olympic champion) as our football coach, and I know we really appreciated it. I worked real hard for Sim, simply because it was Sim Iness out there, and we knew that he was a winner, and he expected his boys to be winners." -Steve Brown, former Porterville High School football player for Sim; later became an All-American at Oregon State University

"He was the kind of person who could let you know that he appreciated whaHe t you did for the team at that time." -Jim Critchlow, former Porterville High School football player for Sim

"He was a coach that cared about kids. He was very concerned about his players. And he wanted to send them to colleges so they could strive to get their education." -Bill Jameson, coaching associate of Sim's at Porterville High School and College

"For such a physically big man, to me he was a gentle giant. He encouraged, showed enormous patience, provided me with the guidance and direction I needed, understood my pressures and confusion, and when I faltered in life or on the track he was always there. He commanded respect, not because of his size (although it always got my attention) but because of his character. When I needed his firmness, it was there. When I needed his soft spoken words of support, they were always there too." -Christopher K. Chisholm, former Porterville College track and field athlete for Sim

"Sim displayed a real sense of compassion for his athletes. He made you feel important, that he really cared for your welfare, and that no obstacle could not be surmounted. He was positive in his coaching and as a result your confidence soared!
He was always a terrific role model for me as a coach. Over my 40 year career as a college coach, Sim's influence helped me develop 5 discus throwers over 200', 4 over 190', 2 NCAA record holders, 1 NCAA champion, and 3 Olympians." -Ken Shannon, former Porterville Junior College track and field athlete for Sim

"Sim had a way of inspiring confidence." -Charles Guerrero, former Porterville College administrator; brother-in-law of Bob Mathias

1952 OLYMPIC TRIALS
“From that point on I knew inside, without being cocky, that no man on earth could beat me at Helsinki. It was an awesome feeling. I just knew that I was going to win the Olympics.”
1952 OLYMPICS
"I was determined to win today. I knew I could get second place, but I didn't want to settle for that. I was afraid of Consolini until my second throw. Then I knew I had him."

"I know it gave me a lot of self-esteem that I had always lacked. I always thought if I could be the best in that event, I could be the best in anything I wanted to be."
OLYMPICS AND PATRIOTISM
“The thrill of a lifetime was standing on the victory stand before 80,000 people and hearing the national anthem played while the American flag was raised. At anytime the flag passes by or the national anthem is played, I can’t help but go back to Helsinki, very very vividly makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.”
SETTING A WORLD RECORD

"That was an easy throw.  It went so smooth.  I thought I could do it today if I ever could.  I never had a throw like that before."

 “I kept saying ‘Why me? What have I done to deserve all this?’ I became very emotional. I did not think I could top winning the Olympics. Setting a world’s record was a bigger thrill. It was really a thrill to set a world record after working so long.”

NOT MAKING THE 1948 OLYMPIC TEAM
"The next four years, I worked my tail off. I wanted to be just like Bob (Mathias)."
ON INSPIRATION
"My inspiration was Bob Mathias. In 1948 when Bob won, I placed sixth in the trials and thought I would never get the opportunity again because there were so many good discus throwers around in those days. But when Bob won, and when I heard him talk about the thrill he got standing on the victory stand, accepting his medal while the National Anthem was played, man, the hair stood up on the back of my neck and I said 'I'm gonna do that, four years from now.' And we did. And what a thrill. And Bob, I want to thank you for motivating and inspiring me.
REASON FOR BEING CHOSEN ON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL SQUAD
"(They) take your biggest, dumbest, ugliest, meanest person and put him on tackle, and just dare them to come that way."
HIGH SCHOOL COACH AND IDOL VIRGIL JACKSON
“Virgil, among others, instilled in me the values and discipline to make myself into something better.”
ADVICE TO ASPIRING ATHLETES
“The most important thing is a feeling of self-worth and power that is in all people. I really believe that some people can harness that power a lot better than others.”
ADVICE TO STUDENTS ABOUT TEACHERS
“Listen to them and do good.”
TEACHERS
"(They) instilled in me values, discipline, and trying to be something better...I had several elementary teachers that raised my self esteem as far as mental ability and it did me a lot of good. I was awkward and clumsy in the growing stages. I couldn’t walk across the room without tripping and falling down.”
BIRTH AT 13lb 10oz
“I was so big when I was born, my mother won a blue ribbon at the Oklahoma State Fair in 1930. She always told everyone I was born on July 9th, 10th, and 11th! She never would tell anyone how long I was.” 
OKLAHOMA HERITAGE
"The word Okie used to be a dirty word, but I grew to be proud of it. But I think all the Okies, former Okies are proud of what they’ve done in the last 50 years."
GROWING UP AS A FARM WORKER
"We didn’t eat T-bone very often. It was a good life. Nobody told me any different.”
FIRST MOVIE ROLE
“My only competitor for the role was a young fellow just starting out as an actor. His name was James Arness. I later learned that I won out only because I came cheaper!”
SCREEN FIGHT WITH ACTOR JACK PALANCE IN SECOND MOVIE ROLE
“Palance won. And everytime I watch the movie on late night TV, he wins again.”
LIFE

“It’s been a great life, and I’d do the same thing all over again.”   

“Who would have ever thought that I would ever go to college. My big ambition was to be the tallest peach-picker in Tulare County.”

SUCCESS IN LIFE
"I have a lot of empathy for people stuck in poverty. But I also know it’s possible to escape. I had goals and I worked hard to achieve them. If a little barefoot Okie in overalls could do it, then maybe all things are possible.”


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