Carrying the Torch: Fifteen Athletes with UT Ties to Compete in Olympics

 

Fifteen athletes with UT ties will compete in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. UT will be represented in men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s basketball, and women’s soccer.

In addition, Olympic gold medalist Benita Fitzgerald Mosley—an alumna and new Alumni Board member—is USA Track & Field’s (USATF) chief of sport performance. She oversees USATF’s high-performance and athlete development programs, Team USA management, elite athlete services, sport science and medicine, anti-doping, coaching education and certification, and national championship meet management. Mosley, a 1984 graduate of the College of Engineering, won gold in the 100-meter hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, becoming the first African American woman and second American woman, after Babe Didrikson Zaharias in 1932, to accomplish the feat.

The Olympics begin July 27 and continue through August 12. A schedule of the competitions can be found at www.london2012.com/schedule-and-results.

The following UT alumni will compete on US national teams for the 2012 games:

  • Tamika Catchings, 32, will try for her third gold medal as part of the women’s national basketball team. Catchings, a forward, played with the team during its gold medal-winning performances in 2004 and 2008. Currently playing for the Indiana Fever in the WNBA, Catchings was part of the undefeated 1997–1998 national championship-winning Lady Vols. At UT, Catchings also was a four-time All-American, and she was named Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year in 2000. She graduated in 2005 with a degree in sport management.
  • Photo courtesy of USA Basketball.

    Candace Parker, 26, will return for her second Olympic appearance with the US women’snational basketball team, after helping the team win the gold in 2008. Currently playing with the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA, Parker helped lead the Lady Vols to back-to-back NCAA national titles. She also was named the Naismith Women’s College Player of the Year for 2008. Parker graduated in 2008 with a major in sport management.

  • Dee Dee Trotter, 29, is returning to the Olympics for the third time after her gold medal-winning performance in the 4 x 400 meter relay at the 2004 Olympics. In 2008, a knee injury kept Trotter from competing in the Beijing games. This summer, she will run in the 400-meter dash and the 4 x 400 meter relay. Trotter also won gold medals in the 2003 and 2007 World Championships. She graduated in 2005 with a degree in sociology.
  • Justin Gatlin, 30, will return to London to try to bring home another gold to accompany the one he earned for the 100-meter dash at the 2004 summer Olympic Games in Athens. That year, Gatlin also won a bronze medal in the 200-meter dash and a silver medal in the 4 x 100 meter relay, and he will be competing in the relay again this year. Gatlin attended UT from 2000 to 2002, winning six NCAA titles during that time.
  • Aries Merritt, 26, will head to the Olympics for the first time this year to compete in the 100-meter hurdles. Merritt holds the UT school record in the 55-meter hurdles, and is tied for third in the 60-meter and 110-meter hurdles. As a UT student in 2005, Merritt won the Ed Murphey Award for most outstanding performance, as well as the Most Valuable Track Athlete Award. In 2006 Merritt was undefeated in every 55-meter, 60-meter, and 110-meter hurdles race he finished. In the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, he won the gold medal for the 60-meter hurdles. Merritt attended UT from 2005 to 2007.
  • Tianna Madison, 26, will travel to her first Olympic Games to compete in the 100-meter dash and the 4 x 100 meter relay. In her sophomore year at UT, Madison won the 2005 NCAA and SEC Indoor and Outdoor titles in the long jump. She was an All-American, and in 2005, she was named the SEC Indoor Women’s Field Event Athlete of the Year. After leaving UT, Madison turned her focus from the long jump to sprinting. She attended UT from 2004 to 2006.

In addition, two current students and seven alumni will be competing on behalf of other countries.

  • Hannah Wilkinson, 20, will make her Olympic debut playing for the New Zealand women’s soccer team. A native of Whangarei, New Zealand, Wilkinson is a 2012 UT signee and part of new Lady Vols soccer coach Brian Pensky’s initial signing class. Wilkinson represented New Zealand at the 2011 Women’s World Cup and the 2010 FIFA Under-20 Women’s Cup.
  • Jamol James, 20, will be running for his native country of Trinidad and Tobago in the 100-meter dash and the 4 x 100 meter relay. In 2012 James was named a first-team US Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Outdoor All-American. James will be a sophomore this fall.
  • Jangy Addy, 27, will represent Liberia for the second time in this year’s Summer Olympics. Addy will compete in the decathlon, an event for which he won the gold medal in the 2011 All-Africa Games. Born in California, Addy is eligible to compete for Liberia because he is a direct descendant of two Liberian citizens. While at UT, Addy was a team captain and an SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year. He also set a collegiate decathlon record in the 110-meter hurdles and a world heptathlon record in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2008 SEC Outdoor Championships. Addy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and electronic media in 2008.
  • Rhian Wilkinson, 30, will enter her second Olympic Games as part of the Canadian women’s soccer team. A native of Quebec, Wilkinson was a member of the Lady Vols soccer team from 2000 to 2003 and was named SEC Freshman of the Year in 2000. She helped the program win its first SEC tournament in 2002. At UT, Wilkinson ranks first in career assists and is tied for third for total goals. Wilkinson has played for the Canadian women’s national soccer team since 2003. She graduated in 2004 with a degree in speech communications.
  • Marie-Eve Nault, 30, will make her Olympic debut also playing for the Canadian women’s soccer team. Nault played alongside fellow Quebecer Rhian Wilkinson on the Lady Vols soccer team from 2000 to 2003, and was twice named the defensive most valuable player by her teammates. Nault started all twenty-seven of the Lady Vols’ SEC matches during her time with the team. In total she scored nine goals, six of which would prove to be match-winners.
  • Hassaan Stamps, 32, was named national teams coach for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A relay and hurdles standout at UT, Stamps was on UT’s 2001 and 2002 NCAA national championship teams. A two-time team captain, Stamps is also the 2002 winner of the Will Pritchett Award. He graduated in 2003 with degrees in sport management and psychology.
  • Octavio Alesi, 25, will swim for Venezuela’s Olympic team for the second time. He will be part of the men’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team. He competed in the 100 meter butterfly in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In his senior season at UT (2007-08), Alesi was named second team All-SEC as a member on the 200 medley relay at the SEC Championships and garnered All-American honors at the NCAA Championship.
  • Barry Murphy, 26, will make his Olympic debut swimming for Ireland. He will swim the 50 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breaststroke. In the 2009 NCAA Championships, Murphy set a new UT record by finishing the 50 meter freestyle in 19.14 seconds. He also earned All-American honors for his efforts in the 200 meter freestyle relay and the 400 meter freestyle and medley relays.
  • Martina Moravcikova, 23, will compete in her first Olympics swimming for the Czech Republic. She will compete in the 200 meter breaststroke. She made history last year setting a new Czech Republic long course record in the 100 meter breaststroke clocking in 1:09:23. In her time at UT, Moravcikova was named an All-American in four events, including earning first-team honors as a member of the fourth-place 400 meter medley relay team.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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