Posts tagged ‘Olympic Games’

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

Cael Sanderson Took a Seven-Year Break from Competition? Doesn’t Look Like It

This USA Wrestling photo pretty much sums up Sanderson's finals match against Jake Herbert.

So it turns out that Cael Sanderson was a little bored. That’s all. Maybe you’d think coaching Penn State’s wrestling team to its first NCAA title since 1953 is time-consuming enough. Well, Sanderson was sitting around last summer after the world championships and wondering whether he was making the most productive use of his time.

He decided he wasn’t. So he returned to elite competition Saturday after a seven-year layoff and won a berth on the U.S. freestyle team for the world championships this September in Istanbul. And, really, “returned” isn’t quite the right verb. He dominated the field, easily dispatching the defending world silver medalist, Jake Herbert, in the best-of-three finals. (Watch here to see how easy Sanderson made it look.)

“There is plenty of time in the day to add a little bit more, and I really thought hard about it,” Sanderson said after the match. (Interview video here; like the previous link, this comes from the fun guys at FloWrestling.)

“My job right now is coaching the Penn State wrestling team, and that is my top priority next to God and my family. I could go home at the end of the day and try and master Call of Duty, or be a little more focused and try and wrestle.” (more…)

June 13, 2011 at 11:53 am Leave a comment

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