A Canton woman has held onto a missing Olympic ring for more than 30 years, hoping to one day return it to its rightful owner. Today, her wish became a reality.
With the help the United States Olympic Committee, WKYC has been able to track down the original owner of a 1980 Olympic ring that was found more than 35 years ago by Dena Fourcher, of Canton.
Fourcher reached out to WKYC for help to locate the owner the ring she found while working as a dispatcher for a charter bus company in Southern California.
"Every time the Olympics come back, it just pops back in my head," Dena Fourcher, of Canton, said. "And I go looking for someone."
It was a silver ring with the words "United States Olympic Team 1980" wrapped around the iconic Olympic rings. Inside the ring: the initials RTC.
A brief search led WKYC to Rita Crockett, a member of the 1980 Olympic volleyball team. Her first and last initials matched the letters engraved in the ring. Crockett, a two-time Olympian, was a member of the 1980 and 1984 Olympic volleyball teams. The U.S. boycotted the Olympics in 1980, but Crockett was able to participate in the 1984 games where she was awarded the silver medal.
Crockett, who now lives in Florida, confirmed on Wednesday evening that she was missing her 1980 Olympic team ring, but the middle initial on the engraved ring did not match Crockett’s middle name.
The next day, WKYC reached out to the US Olympic committee for help to identify the ring’s history and to locate its owner. In just under 24 hours, an alumni relations specialist identified the rightful owner as Robin Theresa Campbell-Bennet, a member of the Olympic track team in 1980, which was the same year the U.S. led a boycott of the summer games.
Fourcher was ecstatic to learn off the positive match, and while she was unable to attend a trip to meet Campbell-Bennett, she enlisted the help of a WKYC crew to hand-deliver the ring.
“It would just be wonderful to see her put it on,” Fourcher said.
A nearly 400-mile trip to Washington, D.C. led WKYC to the home of Campbell-Bennett’s mother, Gloria Campbell, where dozens of Olympic and sports memorabilia was spread across the dining and living room tables.
We’re in the nation’s capital for a reunion to remember. Coming up tomorrow night after the big game, we help to reunite a woman with her @Olympics ring. It was found by a Canton woman more than 30 years ago. @wkyc https://t.co/4fD3nR4XK1 pic.twitter.com/ULMBaAEYwB— Amani Abraham (@AmaniAbraham) February 4, 2018
“I’ve been waiting 30 years for this,” Campbell-Bennett said as she opened the jewelry box sent by Fourcher. “This is great.”
It was just as Campbell-Bennett remembered as she searched for her handwritten middle initials, R-T-C, engraved on the inside of the ring. This time, the ring didn’t fit on her middle ring finger, but a quick attempt on her pinky finger made for a “perfect” fit.
“It’s on Dena, it’s on!” she said. “Because of you [Fourcher], look! Thank you.”
Campbell-Bennett began to recount the moment she realized she lost her ring, sometime after 1981, while traveling on a bus. She didn’t think the ring would ever be returned, assuming it was taken by someone who had no intention of ever returning it.
The ring was given to each Olympian. In 1980, it was a symbol of Campbell-Bennett’s accomplishment, along with a congressional gold medal that was given out to each Olympian during the boycott. She loved the ring so much that she had her college ring made to look similar to her Olympic ring.
“I just can’t believe that you would come this far to give me the ring, and that [Fourcher] would keep the ring this long.”
While Campbell-Bennett didn’t get a chance to meet Fourcher in person, she did have a message for her.
“We’re sisters from different mothers and I just can’t thank you enough,” Campbell-Bennett said. “She’s the Olympic spirit. She goes into the Olympic hall of fame.”