Monday, July 30, 2012
Athletes mark SMU’s presence at 2012 Olympics
At least 12 people with ties to SMU are part of the Olympic or Paralympic Games.
The 2012 Summer Olympics kicked off with a bang Friday, but not without a few SMU Mustangs in tow. Ten current and former SMU athletes and two coaches will be representing their respective countries in various events ranging from swimming to tennis in this year’s games.
Former SMU athletes Laura (Reback) Bennett, Anja Carman, Lars Frolander, and Sara Nordenstam will all compete in the 2012 games — many of them are repeat attendees. Recent graduates Denisa Smolenova and Theres Svendsen will compete in the 200-meter backstroke, 4 x 100 medley relay, and the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle races, respectively. Current Mustang swimmers Nina Rangelova and Mindaugas Sadauskas will represent their countries in various events throughout the games as well.
Rangelova, a rising junior, will compete in the 100-, 200-, and 400- meter freestyle events while Sadauskas, a rising senior, will compete in the 100-meter freestyle event.
Along with alumni and veteran athletes from SMU, the Mustangs have representation in the Olympics with a talented freshman class. Incoming first-year swimmer Danielle Villars will be representing her home country, Switzerland, in the 100-meter butterfly and 200-meter freestyle.
Two SMU swimming coaches, Steve Collins and Andy Kershaw, will serve on the coaching staff for Bulgaria and the United States, respectively.
In addition to the 12 representing SMU in the Summer Olympics, the Mustangs have a presence at the 2012 Paralympics. 21-year-old Jonathan Wentz is a current senior at SMU and will be competing as part of the United States' Para-Equestrian team. Wentz is one of four equestrians on the team and will be competing as an individual and with the team for para dressage.
“The reason I ride horses is nobody can really tell I have a disability until the judge looks at my dispensation certificate … it’s a very broad and level playing field," Wentz said in a video produced by the US Para-Equestrian Association.
Without a doubt, the Mustangs have made their mark as a member of Division I athletics in America, but with the representation of various SMU athletes and coaches in the Olympics, the reach of SMU athletics will be farther than ever before.
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