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USC Track & Field Great Richard Aldrich "Rink" Babka Passes Away Saturday

Jan 17, 2022

Olympian, co-captain of the USC 1958 National Championship track and field team and one-time world record-holding discus thrower Richard Aldrich "Rink" Babka, 85, died on Saturday, January 15 due to congestive heart failure.

Babka, one of the greatest discus throwers in USC history, was among the first throwers to break the 200-foot mark.  The 3-year (1956-58) letterman co-captained USC's 1958 NCAA championship team and was the NCAA co-champ in the discus as a senior.  His best Trojan throw of 198-10 still ranks tied for fifth in USC history.  

A fine athlete, he planned to also play football and basketball at USC before suffering knee injuries.  A world and American record holder in the discus throw with a career best of 209-9, he was ranked in the world's Top 10 for 12 consecutive years, including No. 1 in 1958.  Babka won a silver medal at the 1960 Rome Olympics.  

The two-time All-American helped found the International Track Association (the sport's first pro group).  After working in the electronics and computer fields, he became a business entrepreneur–including owning a successful beverage distributorship in Stockton, Calif., where he also raised quarter horses and cattle–and then served as a management consultant.  He also was active in community affairs. He was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009.  He was also in the first class of Heritage Award honorees in 1990 for outstanding contributions to the great history of USC track and field.

Babka was also an artist and had some of his work on display with the Art of the Olympians, which was founded by Olympic teammate Al Oerter.

Babka is survived by his partner of nine years, Sharon, three sons Kord, Dirk and Beau, and a daughter Tanja.  He also has eight grandchildren.

Service arrangements are pending.