Posts tagged "Andrew Mishler"

Indianapolis native leads, motivates Team USA to gold medal

By Andrew Mishler  |  BSU at the Games

Even as her teammates partied inside their hotel and popped champagne bottles in celebration, U.S. women’ s soccer midfielder Lauren Cheney went to bed at 4:30 Friday morning a sober gold medalist.

“I actually don’t drink,” she said. “So no champagne, but a little bit of dancing. I’ve just never had an urge.”

Five hours later when she woke up, a day after her team had won a gold medal over Japan, business was typical for the 24 year old.

An interview here. An appearance there.

If not for the gold medal tucked tightly into the front left pocket of Cheney’s shorts, it would be hard to pick her out as a U.S. Olympian, especially as most teammates walked around Friday with their prizes draped around their necks.

Cheney’s actions and attitude show she isn’t about soaking up the individual spotlight. The Indianapolis native and Ben Davis graduate appreciates more what her team accomplished Thursday than anything else.

““I just think we’re a family,” Cheney said. “We’ve been together for so long and so many years. I spend more time with these girls than I do with my own family, so they know me.”

Her teammates, however, know what kind of role Cheney has played. Without their 24-year-old leader, those gold medals may not have wound up on their necks.

Or in their pockets.

Injury Setback

The final leg of Cheney’s journey to a gold medal came with an unfortunate complication.

In what Cheney says were the first few seconds of the team’s semifinal match against Canada, her right ankle “busted.”

She only had three days to nurse it before the gold medal match. That healing process first required that she could even stand on it.

“It was upsetting when the morning after the game, I was having a hard time walking on it,” Cheney said.

It wasn’t enough time.

Midfielder Shannon Box started in her place against Japan while Cheney sat on the bench until the final minutes, when she was inserted into the match, swollen ankle and all.

Cheney was supposed to play the entire game. Instead, she was on the field for less than 10 minutes, only able to immediately join her mob of teammates in celebration once the final whistle blew.

No matter. Even as each U.S. player was counting every second that ticked off the clock as the match neared its end, they noticed Cheney’s perseverance.

“(Lauren) handled it so professionally and played really well and was a calming reference for us,” forward Abby Wambach said.

Cheney remained upbeat about the situation.

“Of course, you always want to play, you always want to start,” Cheney said. “But I think this team is so close and so open that we can be happy for each other and know that they can get the job done.”

Born Leader

As a UCLA student who’s on a self-proclaimed “14-year plan,” Cheney is one of the youngest players on Team USA.

Still, it didn’t take long for her to win the respect of the veteran 32-year-old Wambach.

“She’s a young player, but I’d say she’s a born leader,” Wambach said. “She’s a self-proclaimed stubborn woman, and very often views her opinions whether people agree with her or not. And that’s why I love Cheney, because people respect what she has to say.”

Cheney didn’t deny her self-proclaimed stubbornness.

“Yeah, I’m stubborn.”

In what way?

“In every way, every aspect,” she said. “I think Abby’s pretty stubborn too, though.”

Forward Alex Morgan is recognized as one of Team USA’s best players, now famous for scoring the winning goal against Canada in the semi-finals.

Even if some of her teammates look up to her for her skills and talent, it’s Cheney that Morgan looks to for guidance and inspiration.

“(Lauren) motivates me as a player,” Morgan said. “She’s always someone who will give me notes, who will motivate me, talk me through anything. I know I can lean on her.

“When there’s any doubt or anything that I need to get through, it’s always her that I look to.”

Back Home

With plans to return to Los Angeles as soon as the Olympic Games end, Cheney doesn’t have much time to go back to her hometown in Indianapolis.

She admitted that she was only back in the city before the Games to do a video feature on her childhood there. But she still keeps the impact Indianapolis had on her life fresh in her heart and mind.

And on some occasions, even on her wrist.

During Team USA’s game against North Korea on July 31, Cheney flashed a custom-made wristband with three initials on it: JS, KC and AY.

The initials stood for her three childhood friends that stayed with her throughout her soccer career – Jessica Stevens, Kate Cunningham and Annie Yi. The 31st was Cunningham’s birthday.

It’s a reminder to Cheney about where she came from and how she got to this level of soccer. Without those three friends, the gold medal situated squarely in her front pocket would be around the neck of someone else.

As she talked about Cunningham, Yi and Stevens and the wristband she wears to remember them, she recalled a tweet she sent recently that defined her career.

“I tweeted, ‘These are the girls that made me fall in love with soccer.’”

Andrew Mishler is a senior telecommunications and journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Andrew and the BSU team at @andrewmishler@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

I got more exercise than expected while watching the women’s triathlon

For a second while I was watching the Olympic women’s triathlon, I thought I was in a race myself.

As my group of BSU at the Games members stood around Serpentine Lake, surrounded by thousands of people watching the triathletes furiously swim in front of us, some fans around us began to turn around. They started pushing through the massive crowd of people until they reached a clearing, and then it was a full-on sprint to the other side of Hyde Park.

Jonathan Batuello, one of our group members, was among those hurrying away from the lake even though the swimming portion wasn’t over. I hurried after him, but he ran so fast from the crowd I lost track of him.

At that point, it didn’t take long to figure out what everyone was running toward.

As the triathletes pulled themselves out of the water and onto their bikes, fans were racing over to the cycling track to get the best possible view of the next portion of the race.

It was funny to see how the rows of people next to the street worked itself out. Those who ran fast enough and knew they had to leave the swimming portion early earned the ultimate prize of getting great photos. Those of us who didn’t had to deal with photos that had heads and cameras in the way of the shot.

Our group learned from the first run through the park and made it over to the running track after the cycling was halfway finished. No running was necessary this time, and after a half hour of waiting, we were able to get a decent view of the triathletes sprinting by us.

For the first Olympic sport I’ve ever seen in-person, the women’s triathlon is memorable just for getting me out of a seat. That’s not something I’m used to as a football and basketball fan.

Still, the next time I sit down to comfortably watch a sport with a hot dog in one hand and a drink in the other, I know I won’t take it for granted.

Andrew Mishler  |  Sports Reporter

@andrewmishler

U.S. triathlete Groff finishes with high yet “bittersweet” final placing in Olympic women’s triathlon

By Andrew Mishler  |  BSU at the Games

After enduring miles of swimming, biking and running, U.S. triathlete Sarah Groff pushed her body as far as it could.

It was enough to secure one of the highest finishes in Saturday’s Olympic women’s triathlon. But it also secured the most bittersweet finish of the race.

Groff came in fourth with a time of 2:00:00, finishing behind eventual bronze medalist Lisa Norden of Australia by 10 seconds in the final standings.

“My goal going into this race was just to be there with 1,000 meters to go. I was,” Groff said in a news release. “You know, I’ve got to be proud of that. Fourth is the ‘worst’ position to be in but, at the end of the day, I’m an Olympian. I get to showcase this awesome sport to millions of people. I’m really proud to be on this team. Obviously it would have been better to come home with a medal, but I’m proud of the process and proud of our team.”

Groff’s fourth-place finish tied for the second highest U.S. women’s mark in Olympic triathlon history. The highest place for U.S. competitors came in 2004 when Susan Williams took home the bronze medal.

The gold medal winner wasn’t decided as the tape broke, as both Switzerland’s Nicola Spiring and Sweden’s Lisa Norden finished with a time of 1:59:48.

Several agonizing minutes went by as the judges deliberated on whose torso broke the plane first. When the announcement came, Spiring was declared the gold medal winner.

Groff’s U.S. teammates finished with mixed results. Laura Bennett came in 17th with a time of 2:02:17, while Gwen Jorgensen finished 38th with a time of 2:06:34.

Jorgensen’s low finish was partly due to a flat tire on her bike during the third lap of the cycling.

“I had a flat, so I had to stop and change it,” Jorgensen said. “I wasn’t in the front pack, anyway. I got a little flustered. It never happened to me before. You’ve got to be prepared for everything.”

Bennett stayed with the front of the pack throughout most of the swimming and cycling portions, but couldn’t keep up with the leaders during the 10-kilometer run.

“The girls I was with, I’ve never really ridden with. It was definitely unexpected,” Bennett said. “I didn’t feel fantastic all day. You try and keep in touch with it all and figure out what you have, and that was all I had today.”

With the women’s competition over, the focus now switches to the men’s triathlon on Tuesday at 9 a.m. in Hyde Park. Hunter Kemper and Manuel Huerta will represent the U.S. in the race. Kemper has competed in every Olympic triathlon since the inaugural race in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Like so many inside Hyde Park on Saturday, Kemper not only played the role of a fan of his home country, but also of triathlon as a sport, taking to Twitter to express it after the race.

“WOW!!! That was the greatest finish I have ever seen!” Kemper tweeted. “UNBELIEVABLE!!! #triathlon has arrived on a world stage! BRILLIANT!”

Andrew Mishler is a senior telecommunications and journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Andrew and the BSU team at @andrewmishler@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Women’s triathlon medal hopes ride on three athletes in field of 56

By Andrew Mishler  |  BSU at the Games

As 26-year old Gwen Jorgensen awakes tomorrow to compete in her first Olympic triathlon, the situation shouldn’t feel too unfamiliar to her. She’s been here before.

Once Jorgensen takes her mark to race for the gold medal, it will have been 363 days since she took second place in the World Championship Series Triathlon, also positioned in London. Her finish qualified her for the triathlon she is hours away from competing in.

Prior success in the same city hasn’t let the youngest United States triathlon athlete become overconfident about her chances in the Olympic Games. With 55 other world-class athletes around Jorgensen ready to swim, bike and run toward a first-place finish, she knows the stage and stakes aren’t the same as before.

“Every race is completely different,” Jorgensen said last week in a news release. “You have different people out there. I know that this race is going to be hard, and it’s going to go from the beginning, and I just have to be prepared to hurt a lot.”

Long before she qualified last year to compete in the Olympic event, Jorgensen was trained to one day be an Olympic athlete.  She said her coach pushed her into thinking she would one day have a chance at competing at this level.

But even a year to digest the fact she was officially an Olympian wasn’t enough time for Jorgensen.

“When I got recruited into triathlon, they told me the Olympics were in the picture and that I could definitely do it,” she said. “My coach always believed in me. I don’t think I fully believed that 2012 was realistic. After I qualified, I was like, ‘What? Really?’ It didn’t really sink in. I think it actually sunk in once I got to the Olympic Village. I was like, ‘Wow. I’m really here.’”

Fellow U.S. competitors Laura Bennett and Sarah Groff join Jorgensen in the 51.5-kilometer race. The U.S. reached the quota of three possible competition athletes based on qualifying triathlons prior to the Olympic Games.

The event starts at 9 a.m. at Hyde Park. Each athlete swims 1,500 meters of Serpentine Lake, bikes 40 kilometers through the London streets and runs 10 kilometers around Hyde Park to the finish line.

“When it comes down to it, it’s just going to be about who is ready on August 4,” she said. “It’s going to be a tough race no matter what, and we’re all prepared for that.”

Andrew Mishler is a senior telecommunications and journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Andrew and the BSU team at @andrewmishler@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Video: Jaycie Phelps still uses gold for new goals

With the world stage for gymnastics nearing in London, BSU at the Games features 1996 Olympic gold medalist Jaycie Phelps and how she continues to use her Olympic experience to drive her new goals.

Emily Barker, Andrew Mishler and Alex Kartman have the story.

Follow BSU at the Games on Twitter @bsuatthegames and like us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Triathlon: Huerta and Kemper represent U.S.

By Andrew Mishler | BSU at the Games

Team USA Triathlon athlete Hunter Kemper | Courtesy Photo

Nine seconds is all that separated Manuel Huerta from swimming, biking and running as a United States Olympian this summer and an early end to that very dream.

Fortunately for Huerta, those nine seconds came in his favor.

Competing in the ITU World Triathlon in San Diego on May 12, Huerta raced to ninth place with a time of one hour, 49 minutes and 29 seconds. It was only slightly ahead of Kris Gemmell of New Zealand, who finished at 1:49:40.

Huerta cut it as close as he could. Only a top-nine finish would clinch a spot on the U.S. Olympic Triathlon team, which is allotted only two male competitors.

Fellow U.S. competitor Hunter Kemper came in fifth place at 1:49:17, securing himself and Huerta as the two-man team to compete for the U.S. this summer in London.

Following the swimming and biking legs of the race, the top of the field was still bunched within seconds of each other. That left the running event to decide the outcome.

Huerta had prepared exactly for that situation.

“I knew that it would come down to the run,” Huerta said in a release. “The past couple weeks I’ve been focusing on my run, especially my running off the bike. I was pretty much on the last pack on the swim, but I stayed positive; I stayed calm. We caught up and then I set myself in very good position on the bike on the last couple laps, and then I went out with my heart and then gave everything I had.”

Huerta may be headed toward his first Olympic appearance, but this is familiar ground for the 36-year-old Kemper.

With his fifth-place finish, Kemper became only the third athlete to qualify for all four Olympic triathlons, dating back to Sydney in 2000. The two other triathletes joining him are Simon Whitfield (Canada) and Anja Dittmer (Germany).

Kemper proved he was still in prime condition after suffering an elbow injury in the Myrtle Beach ITU Pan American Cup in October 2011. Saturday was his first day of official competition since his injury.

“It’s a tremendous day for me; I didn’t know if I would actually be back here,” Kemper said. “I went through so much … It’s been a struggle.”

The ITU World Triathlon San Diego elite races are the next events in the Olympic Qualification Period, which closes on May 31.

The women’s elite races will take place at 1 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, May 19, while the men will compete the following day at 1 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, May 20. Universal Sports will broadcast both events.

ITU World Triathlon San Diego

Top 10 and U.S. competitors
1. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), 1:48:46

2. Sven Riederer (SUI), 1:48:52

3. Richard Murray (RSA), 1:49:02

4. Mario Mola (ESP), 1:49:08

5. Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:49:17

6. Ryan Sissons (NZL), 1:49:22

7. Tim Don (GBR), 1:49:25

8. Bevan Docherty (NZL), 1:49:29

9. Manuel Huerta (Miami, Fla.), 1:49:31

10. Kris Gemmell (NZL), 1:49:40

15. Gregory Billington (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:49:49

24. Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.), 1:50:11

32. Ethan Brown (Lowell, Mass.), 1:50:27

34. Matt Chrabot (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:50:32

53. Mark Fretta (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1:53:09

 

Andrew Mishler is a junior telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University. Follow Andrew and the BSU team at @andrewmishler@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.