Posts tagged ‘London 2012’

Thinking of John Lucas During the Olympics

We profiled John Lucas in the magazine back in 1996.

I loved the Olympics well before I showed up at Penn State and wandered into a minor in sport history. But I didn’t fully appreciate the power of the Games until I met John Lucas.

Lucas ’70g, a professor in what was way-back-when called “exercise and sport science,” spent decades at Penn State combining his two loves—scholarship and the Olympics. He also told terrific stories, and he reeled off hilarious one-liners, made all the more funny because he was so serious as he uttered them.

Few things made him madder than the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympics; Lucas truly believed that Olympism is a force for good, and he didn’t think politicians and heads of state should interfere with it. He was proud to have been one of a handful of Americans in Moscow that year. “Mr. Jimmy Carter,” he intoned one day in class, “he did not tell me that I could not go to Moscow.” He paused, injecting a little drama. Lucas loved a little extra drama. “So I went to Moscow.” Another pause. “Mr. Jimmy Carter, he could not stop me.”

Somehow, in his formal lecture voice, he made it sound like he and Mr. Jimmy Carter had settled the matter in a physical confrontation. I had no doubt that had it come to blows, Lucas would have prevailed. So what if he had the slight frame of a distance runner? I couldn’t imagine what (more…)

August 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm 5 comments

Your Blue-and-White Olympic Guide

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 (more…)

July 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm 1 comment

Matt Anderson Eyes Olympic Gold

Matt Anderson led the U.S. men’s volleyball team back to the Olympics this year, four years after the Americans won Olympic gold in Beijing, and about as long since Anderson earned Most Outstanding Player honors in leading Penn State to the 2008 NCAA championship. Anderson left Penn State after his junior to play professionally overseas, and in the meantime he’s become one of the stars of the national team. He’s among the current and former Nittany Lions turned Olympians featured in our July/August issue.

The upstate New York native was profiled a few days ago in the Buffalo News, and it makes for compelling reading. Among other things, it turns out Anderson is the youngest player on the U.S. men’s volleyball roster—and arguably also its best hitter. Part of Anderson’s motivation comes from the loss of his father and role model, who died of a heart attack in 2010. You can find that story here, and you can keep an eye out for Anderson — at 6-foot-10, he’s hard to miss — when the Olympics begin a little over a month from today.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

June 26, 2012 at 8:35 pm 1 comment

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