Midtown History: Anne Cribbs
Written by Hillary Freeman

Anne Cribbs is a true American hero. And better yet, she is a Bay Area hero. And lucky for us, Anne makes her home in Palo Alto's Midtown.

Anne learned how to swim at the ripe age of 4. One of her early swimming coaches told her that he barely missed participating in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. From that moment on, Anne's dream was to compete in the Olympic games. By the time she was 15 years old, Anne achieved her goal. At the 1960 Olympic games, Anne and her teammates won the gold medal for the 400 meter medley relay and she placed 5th in the world in the 200 meters breast stroke. Because of the preferential treatment of male athletes in 1960, the U.S. men's swimming team was invited to tour Europe, but the women's team had to return home. At home, Anne stopped competitive swimming because at that time there was no women's swim team at the college of her choice, Stanford University. Unbeknownst to Anne at the time, experiencing the inequities between the treatment of male and female athletes, even at the world class level, helped shape her current perspectives. Anne is always at the forefront of issues regarding the equal opportunity for women in sports.

Anne pursued a couple of careers in the area of recreation. Over the years, she has taught many, many peninsula children how to swim. She also worked tirelessly for the City of Palo Alto in the Community Services Department. Several of the now famous Palo Alto events were invented on Anne's watch. The Black and White Ball was just one example of Anne's exciting ideas.

She is currently serving as a City Council appointed member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Anne has another great ideal! In the spirit of fitness, Anne wants to jump start a campaign promoting community walking by having elected and appointed officials wear pedometers that are linked to a computer that indicates distance traveled, calories burned to date. Using city officials as role models, Anne anticipates that the value of fitness will permeate Palo Alto.

Recently, when Anne combined her love of sports with her organizing skills, she and several partners developed a bid proposing the Bay Area as a future Olympic venue. The momentum was contagious and the supporting network was world class. As president of Anne Cribbs and Company, Anne is currently leading the Bay Area Senior Olympic Committee (BASOC) in their quest to get the Senior (50+) Olympic Games here in our backyard.

Anne's mantra states that "Olympians are indeed ordinary people who achieve extraordinary things, because they believe they can. The reason for their success is no secret they love what they do, they have dreams and they never give up". Midtown's own Olympian and regional hero, Anne Cribbs, certainly lives by those words.<

Return to
MRA Home Page