Local pentathlete gets hall call
Lawrence home now for sculptor Norwood
Lori Norwood has flourished in her career as a sculptor since moving to Lawrence in 2007, but she will be honored for success of her past profession when she is inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 28.
Norwood, a former world-class pentathlete, will be enshrined along with former San Antonio Spurs coach Doug Moe, ex-San Antonio Missions and MLB pitcher Al LaMacchia and longtime sports broadcaster Gary DeLaune at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
“Mostly what it does is it gives me a great opportunity to say thank you to a lot of people who helped not only me, but my sport and their community– so many people behind the scenes that do so much unheralded,” Norwood said. “When I was in San Antonio pentathlon, the San Antonio Sports Foundation was just beginning. So I knew some of those people, and now the organization has grown into just a fabulous entity.”
Norwood’s top achievement in her professional pentathlon career was winning a world championship in 1989, an honor no other American woman has claimed.
“My favorite thing about my whole experience in pentathlon is that having won the world championships provided me with a platform to push for women’s inclusion in the Olympic Games. Doors were open to me as an athlete that women of a generation before didn’t have access to,” Norwood said. “When I was at my peak, only the men competed in the Olympics. That was painful.”
The modern pentathlon — which features competition in fencing, pistol shooting, swimming, show jumping on horseback and running — has been on the Olympics program for men since 1912 but only became a women’s Olympic sport in 2000.
Before becoming a world-class pentathlete, Norwood ran cross country and track at the University of Texas for one year. With running, delving into her pentathlon career and gaining experience as a sculptor, Norwood learned a lot about time management.
“That was the rub. Pentathlon took a lot of time,” Norwood said. “I ran at Texas my freshman year. When you’re running for a school, it’s a lot of time to fit in track and cross country workouts with studios.”
Norwood’s time as a pentathlete and sculptor has taken her all over the nation. San Antonio was Norwood’s dream location to launch her professional pentathlon career, and she remains thankful for the opportunity to have trained there.
“I lived in San Antonio specifically for pentathlon,” Norwood said. “I was in North Carolina when I first heard about pentathlon and fell in love with the idea of the sport. It was all I could do to finagle a way to get to San Antonio.”
Since becoming a full-time sculptor, Norwood has stayed in touch with the Lone Star State, but has developed her roots in Lawrence.
“Before moving to Lawrence, I did pieces for the city of Houston and for Charlotte, North Carolina,” Norwood said. “I’ve been working as a sculptor before settling in Lawrence, but this is home now and where I’ll build my career.”