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      U.S. Olympian visits Manistique

      A two time U.S. Olympic gold medal women's basketball player tells others how she never gave up on her dreams.

      Ruthie Bolton-Holifield was told she wasn't good enough to play basketball at Auburn University, even though a couple of her older sisters played for the Tigers.

      Bolton-Holifield was in Manistique over the weekend talking about her experiences of growing up in a small southeastern Mississippi town.

      She's the 16th of 20 brothers and sisters. She was a walk-on at Auburn, she wasn't invited to the Olympic Trials, and she had to prove why she should have been there.

      Bolton-Holifield had a passion for basketball and a father who believed in her.

      "At one time my world was church and our backyard," says Bolton-Holifield. "That was my world. That was preparing me for the really, really, big world. And those are the small things that happened to me. That's why I told the kids (that) I just didn't wake up and I was a champion or wake up an Olympian. There was a process I had to go through, and I was willing to go through that process because my goal was everyday to be a better person than I was the day before."

      Bolton-Holifield was the guest speaker at the second annual Manistique Lady Gems Sno-Baller Tournament.

      She tore her ACL in 1998, but she rehabilitated the knee well enough to get her second gold medal in 2000 after earning her first in the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta.

      Bolton-Holifield played eight seasons in the WNBA for the Sacramento Monarchs from 1997 through 2004. She was a two-time all-star, scoring more than 2,000 points in her career.