By Tom Robinson, NEPASportsNation.com
There were cheers and tears in Old Forge Saturday night when the United States secured its first women’s medal at the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Emma Weyant, a Sarasota, Fla. swimmer with ties to northeastern Pennsylvania, got the women’s medal haul started with a silver in the 400-meter individual medley.
Weyant’s mother, Kristi Cardoni Weyant, is a 1989 Coughlin graduate. Extended family that has kept in touch through the years and followed Weyant’s developing career via Facebook gathered Saturday morning when the 19-year-old University of Virginia commit won her heat with the fastest qualifying time and again Saturday night to watch her prime time performance live on NBC.
“It was so exciting,” said Alisha Marmo Hudak, who hosted the gathering of about 20 people in her Old Forge home. “We were all crying and I’ve never even met the girl.”
Weyant’s late grandfather, Herman “Bucky” Cardoni, and Hudak’s father, Joe Marmo, were first cousins and there were many direct connections within the family prior to Weyant’s mother moving to Florida. The more recent contact has been through keeping in touch on social media.
The medal-winning performance by Weyant in Japan came on the sixth anniversary of the death of Bucky Cardoni, a Plains High School graduate who went on to a successful law career, including serving as Chief Council and Deputy Secretary for the Department of General Services of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
“It was six years to the day of Bucky’s death and he was such a big sports enthusiast, so that made it so emotional for the whole family,” Hudak said. “ … He was just really into sports and my father looked up to him, so we were just all choked up about that.”
The Old Forge connection traces back another generation to Bucky Cardoni’s parents.
Genny Marmo Cardoni from Old Forge married Herman Cardoni and they raised their family in Plains.
While the Old Forge branch of the Marmo-Cardoni family celebrated in Old Forge, the Weyants joined a Florida watch party hosted by the Sarasota Sharks Swim Club where Emma developed her world-class skills.
Emma’s parents, James and Kristi, and her sisters Ava, Gracie and Harper, are unable to attend the Olympic Games because of pandemic-related restrictions on travel to and attendance at the games.
They all had to wait an extra year for the moment after Emma Weyant also qualified for the 2020 Games prior to their cancellation.
The four-time high school All-American from Riverview High where she won four Florida Class 4A state championships each in the 200-yard individual medley and 500-yard freestyle, Weyant deferred the start of her college career at the University of Virginia for a year while continuing to train for the Olympic opportunity.
The 400 IM was the only Olympic event for Weyant, the U.S. national champion in the event since 2019.