Your Blue-and-White Olympic Guide

July 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm 1 comment

At least two dozen Penn Staters—including a school-record 19 athletes—are in the UK for the 2012 Summer Olympics, which officially kick off with Friday’s opening ceremony. This link from rounds up the competing athletes with Penn State ties, some of whom you can find out more about via the links below:

* Here’s a recent Q&A with Christa Harmotto ’09 (pictured), one of two former Nittany Lions (along with Megan Hodge ’10) on the U.S. women’s volleyball team’s 12-player roster. Alisha Glass ’10 and Nicole Fawcett ’09 are with the team as alternates. Matt Anderson is one of the stars of the U.S. men’s team.

* Penn Staters will represent a number of countries in track and field events. Here’s a feature interviewing the parents of Bridget Franek ’10, who will run the steeplechase for the U.S.; a short video feature on Dominique Blake ’08, a member of the Jamaican 4×400 relay team, with some cool footage of her training; there’s also Shana Cox ’07, who will represent the host nation in the 4×400, and Kirsten Nieuwendam, a Penn State sophomore, will run the 200 meters for her native Suriname. Ryan Whiting, an assistant coach with the track team, will compete for the U.S. in the shot put.

* Three Penn State fencers will take the strip in London, including senior to be Miles-Chamley Watson (recently profiled in the Philadelphia Inquirer), a London native who fences for the U.S., and classmate Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi of Mexico, both in men’s foil. Doris Willette ’11 is a U.S. alternate in women’s foil.

* Erin McLeod ’06 and Carmelina Moscato ’06 are integral members of Canada’s women’s soccer team — you can read a cool feature here on McLeod and the team’s drive to establish Canada as a power in the sport.

* Two Nittany Lions will compete for medals in men’s gymnastics: Tommy Ramos ’09 for his native Puerto Rico, and junior Felix Aronovich for his home country of Israel. Aronovich penned a first-person account of his path to the Olympics at

* A pair of Penn Staters with no connection to varsity sports are competing in London as well: Natalie Dell ’07, a former Penn State club rower, will take a seat for the U.S. in the quadruple sculls, while Bobby Lea ’06, a Berks grad, is back for his second Olympics as a member of the U.S. cycling team.

Five other Penn Staters are in the UK to cover the Games through the Curley Center for Sports Journalism in the College of Communications: Virginia Harrison ’08 and undergrads Audrey Snyder, Christine Newby, Jeffrey Lowe, and former Penn Stater intern Emily Kaplan. You can follow their coverage throughout the games here.

Finally, two notes on Penn State’s Olympic expertise. The Los Angeles Times last week ran an interesting story about why the U.S. team never dips its flag during the opening ceremonies, and kinesiology professor Mark Dyreson does most of the explaining.

On a much sadder note, we recently came across this story on John Lucas ’70g, a longtime Penn State professor who is widely considered the world’s preeminent Olympic historian. Lucas is suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s, and this summer’s Games are the first he’s been unable to attend since 1960.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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