NO. 39

Double trouble

Cathey Tyree left competitors in the dust on both the track and basketball court.

Cathey Tyree was a two-sport star long before it was in vogue.

She didn't just run track, she excelled. Same with basketball.

In 1987, she was Purdue University's MVP in both sports, an unprecedented feat at the school. Her success led to an induction in the Purdue Hall of Fame in 1998. Tyree went on to place sixth in the 1988 Olympic Trials in the heptathlon, and just last summer she tried out for the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx.

All of that took place after a stellar high school career for South Side that includes a 1,600-meter relay state record that still stands. Tyree was part of South's incredible 1983 relay team that included current world-ranked heptathlete DeDee Nathan, former national triple jump contender Angela Goodman and sprinter Trudy McCloud.

"Sports were good to me, and the people in sports were good to me," Tyree said. "It gave me lots of experience, as far as life in general -- meeting different people, dealing with people in different ways. Sports improved my life a whole lot."

Most of Tyree's time today in Alhambra, Calif., is spent with her boyfriend, actor Michael Taliferro, raising their 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son. Tyree also works occasionally as a model/actress in print and television advertising.

She moved to California to train as a heptathlete, and won a gold medal in the event at the 1989 U.S. Olympic Festival. She last competed in the javelin at the Olympic Festival in Los Angeles in 1991. Except for the brief tryout with the WNBA, most of her athletic work has been portraying athletes in advertising.

She also worked for the Amateur Athletic Foundation, and helped develop an after-school program, Kids in Sports, before she left to stay home with her children.

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