Record-setting feat for Maryland woman

She watched Games more than 50 hours

August 19, 2004|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN STAFF

Marylander Terrye L. Jackson is poised to enter the Guinness World Records for an Olympian feat: She watched more hours in a row of television than anyone else on Earth is ever documented to have done.

Jackson, an Upper Marlboro resident who works at a Columbia law firm, pulled off the coup this week at Universal Studios in Orlando by watching 50 hours and seven minutes straight of Olympics coverage on NBC and its sister stations, including Bravo and Telemundo, a Spanish language channel. She beat the previous record (which was set last year by five Europeans watching at the same time) by two minutes. Her time is subject to validation by Guinness officials at the company's London headquarters.

"It's overwhelming how everybody is taking pride in all this," says Jackson. "But for me, personally, I just stay awake."

Jackson, who turns 42 tomorrow, won a trip to Orlando - and the chance to participate in the contest - from a Washington radio station for knowing which past Olympian appeared in the film Uptown Saturday Night. (Answer: George Foreman, 1968 heavyweight boxing gold medalist.) Because most of the region's theme parks were shut down by the effects of Hurricane Charley, she seized the opportunity and entered the competition, sponsored by NBC to promote its round-the-clock coverage of the Olympics.

According to NBC, Jackson will receive a trip for two to the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, and a high definition home theater.

Jackson's sister, Valerie Hill, helped her to relax and do exercises during the five-minute-per-hour breaks allowed by contest rules. And Guinness officials monitored her to ensure that her eyes did not stray from the screen for more than a minute at a time.

"We're all about celebrating everyday people doing extraordinary things," says Stuart Claxton, a researcher for Guinness. "Terrye seems to encapsulate that." It should take three to four weeks to confirm her record, he says.

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