Of all the SI staffers who worked on this Olympic Preview Issue, none has a more personal interest in the Barcelona Games than editorial operations coordinator Maris Hearn. That's because she has three relatives on the 15-member U.S. Whitewater slalom team: nephew Davey Hearn, 33, an entrant in the men's single canoe (C-l); niece Cathy Hearn, 34, who's competing in the women's single kayak (K-1W); and Cathy's husband, Lecky Haller, 34, who's in the men's double canoe (C-2).
Davey and Cathy are the children of Maris's older brother, Carter. "Our parents were outdoors people before it was fashionable," says Maris. "We went mountain climbing in Virginia, Maryland and the White Mountains in New Hampshire as kids, and in the summer my mom taught canoeing and swimming at Camp Red Wing in upstate New York."
If Maris, 55, had her own Olympic-style designation, it would be B-1W, for she is SI's most avid bicyclist. Not only does she cycle 50 blocks, rain or shine, to and from work in New York City traffic—an Olympian task if ever there was one—but she also takes 12-to 18-mile lunchtime spins in Central Park and longer forays on the roads around her log cabin home in the lower Catskills. "I'm a pedaler, not a paddler," she says. Her brother begs to differ. "I've gotten Maris out in a kayak a few times," says Carter, who is still a competitive canoeist at 59. "She's pretty good. She has great balance and coordination from all her biking."
That athleticism has long been a source of pride and inspiration for her brother's children. "Aunt Maris has always been very active," says Davey. "I know that she has set an example for Cathy as an athletic woman who has a lot of fun in sports."
Maris's main job at SI is to merge text and photos into computerized page layouts. "Putting together the pages," she says. But she also can often be found on the phone, calmly reassuring a frantic writer who has run afoul of a balky computer while transmitting a story. "Maris would make a great air-traffic controller," says editor at large Steve Wulf.
Right now Maris is training for the New York Ride Across the State (NY RATS). "That's my Olympics," she says. As it happens, the 650-mile tour begins on July 25, the day of the opening ceremonies in Barcelona, and ends on Aug. 2, the final day of the Whitewater slalom events. In other words, when her relatives are paddling, Maris will probably be pedaling. So if you're on the road from Buffalo to New York City during those nine days and spot number 33, let her know how the other Hearns are doing.
Hearn's Olympic kin might be inspired by her 50-block rides to work in Manhattan traffic.