Jul. 22—All eyes are on Tokyo this week with the start of the Summer Games, but if you can go for the gold in literacy this Saturday with a timely book signing.
Allison Crotzer Kimmel will be signing copies of her book "Unbeatable Betty" at Russo's Books.
Released last June, the book is about the first woman to win a gold medal in track and field who beat the odds after a near-fatal accident to recover and compete again.
"She's the only Olympian that I know of who came back from the dead to go onto another Olympics," Kimmel told The Californian last year. "It's a story about survival and resistance."
After Robinson won the gold medal in the 100-meter race at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, she returned to the U.S. and continued to run. That all changed in 1931 when she was in a plane crash. Found unconscious, she was mistakenly first delivered to an undertaker.
She has sustained serious internal injuries as well as a badly broken leg, hip and arm. With a rod in her leg in one leg that left it shorter than the other, doctors told Robinson she'd never walk again, much less run.
But as testament to the strength of an Olympian, she taught herself to walk then to run again, all with an eye on the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
Due to the damage to her leg, she could no longer compete in her 100-meter race but she did run in the 4x100-meter relay. She and relay team members Harriet Bland, Annette Rogers and Helen Stephens took home the gold for the U.S.
Earlier this month, "Unbeatable Betty" was named to a list of 30 children's books about female Olympians, compiled by A Mighty Girl resource site.
Kimmel, an English teacher at Centennial High School, said she was inspired to write about Robinson because she was unable to find a book on the amazing athlete.
That would be the second time she found a passion project: She wrote "The Eternal Soldier" in 2019 about a brave dog who guarded injured and dying men during the Civil War,
"I always look in my writing for people who I think history forgot — whether it's a dog or a female runner — the unsung heroes and heroines in history," she said last year.
Kimmel will sign from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Russo's, 1601 New Stine Road, #132.
For more on Kimmel and her work, visit allisoncrotzerkimmel.com.
Stefani Dias can be reached at 661-395-7488. Follow her on Twitter at @realstefanidias.