Stacia, Luanne and Jack Barron have spent every spare moment the last few months in training. This week, when they journey to Cologne, West Germany, for the Deaf Olympics, their father, Jack Sr., will proudly wear a T-shirt bearing the message: "I am the father of three kids on the U.S. Team."
The Barrons are among the 179 U.S. athletes selected to compete in the 14th edition of the games held every four years and limited to those who are deaf or hearing-impaired. The competition begins Thursday and runs through Aug. 1 and will include basketball, volleyball, table tennis, handball, swimming, cycling, gymnastics, wrestling, soccer, shooting, judo, track and water polo.
Stacia, 19, will represent her school, Gallaudet, and her home town, Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the track and field compeition. She and Luanne, 20, are two of the 40 athletes from Gallaudet selected to compete for the United States. Luanne plays volleyball.
Jack Jr., 17, who attends Model Secondary School for the Deaf, is a wrestler.
The Barrons and their teammates had to raise $4,000 each to cover the costs of training and travel to the games. Athletes from 44 other countries are expected.
Felice Pyser, 17, the youngest member of the women's basketball team and a senior at Model went to work for her local paper in Massapequa, N.Y. Not long after a story appeared about her efforts to attend the games, a Lions club took up her cause and helped her raise the funds.
Jimmy Newsome, 22, a former Gallaudet student who lives in Washington, will attend the Deaf Olympics, thanks to a campaign waged by his father, Nehemiah. "We raised $1,000 locally," said Newsome, a special policeman at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, "and the rest came from the private charity in California that had heard about Jimmy and became his private sponsor."
Jimmy Newsome became deaf at age 5. He will play for the U.S. basketball team that will be trying to win the gold medal for the seventh consecutive time.
Robbie Carmichael, a 1979 Gallaudet graduate from Johnson City, Tenn., also hopes to bring home another medal. She won a silver medal at the 1977 games in Bucharest, Romania, in the women's doubles tennis and is the only area athlete who has taken part in a previous Deaf Olympics.