Posts tagged "Olympian"

Caroline Queen hopes to apply experiences from London to Rio

By Mat Mikesell  |  BSU at the Games

Whether it was walking with Team USA during the Opening Ceremony or playing Sudoku on the treadmills in the workout room, kayaker Caroline Queen will leave London with memories she will never forget.

Though the Darnestown, Md., native placed 17th in the women’s K1, two spots shy of qualifying for the semifinals, she is taking her experiences from London to Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

“This whole experience has been incredible,” Queen said. “The result wasn’t what I’m capable of.”

Her parents, David and Sharon, as well as her cousin and a number of family friends, joined her in London. Even after watching her compete in athletics throughout her youth, they were still the typical nervous mom and dad during her run to the Olympic Games.

“Watching major competitions is extraordinarily nerve-wracking for parents,” Sharon Queen said. “[Her father and I] hope that Caroline will compete well and fulfill her expectations, but we cannot control what happens.”

Once her daughter finally qualified for the Olympic Games, she was relieved the grueling process spanning more than nine months and three countries was over.

The kayaker came to London having little expectations of what the Olympic Village and the Games would be like but came away with a positive experience. She loved being able to train whenever she wanted, for as long as she wanted. She was also a fan of having fresh seafood and grilled vegetables available to her in the cafeteria.

But since she was eliminated from her competition Monday, she’s had more time for herself and to enjoy London with her family.

“I’ve been to the gym a couple times and did some running,” Queen said. “I went with my family earlier this week and saw ‘Spamalot.’”

Ranked 38th in the world by the International Canoe Federation, the 20-year-old Queen has a chance to improve considerably as one of the younger competitors when she attempts to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

Despite her potential, though, Queen always been an advocate for helping younger younger than her train for the Olympic Games. Now that she’s finally competed in one, she has more advice for them when she returns to the United States.

“It’s an honor and it’s something I’ll always take with me,” Queen said. “It’s something you want to chase for sure. It’s an experience any athlete wants.”

This weekend she heads home to the United States, where she will return to Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., for the fall semester. But in between her studies, she will continue to train.

Her parents said Caroline learned the lesson of grace in London from not getting the result she hoped for while competing. Her mother said she showed great character on the course as well as in her conduct afterward.

If she doesn’t medal in Rio de Janeiro, her mother said she still expects her daughter to compete at her highest level.

“We expect her to enjoy the experience and do her best,” Sharon Queen said. “That is all we ever expect. Life is about living your experiences rather than racking up results.”

Mat Mikesell is a senior journalism major at Ball State University covering badminton, canoeing and sailing for BSU at the Games. Follow Mat and the BSU team at @MatMikesell@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Daily Video: Sam Hazewinkel | USA Wrestling

BSU at the Games continues its daily video series introducing you to athletes from Team USA. Today, meet USA Wrestling’s Sam Hazewinkel prior to a recent practice in London for the Olympic Games. Hazewinkel competes Friday.

Sam Hazewinkel – USA Wrestling

An unexpected day

While in London, I never expected to go to Olympic Park or the Main Press Center. That changed when I was told I was picked to receive a guest credential pass. I would tour the center and walk around Olympic Park.

I left the flat early in the morning to meet up with our contact, Peggy Manter, that was getting me in. On my way from one tube to the other, I ran into my first problem of the day — the tube I needed was down, so I had to take a train to Olympic Park. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t the case. I only knew where to go through the tube stations and the stops made on the above ground train are not the same. So, now, I am someone who does not know London very well trying to get to Olympic Park. It was very frustrating until I finally asked for help from the people who work for the trains.

I finally arrived at the proper station and got off the crowded train. I walked through the crowd of people, making my way to the area where I would get our guest passes. After about six minutes of battling traffic I got to the proper place.  I walked in and received my pass without any problems. I headed to security where I was told I could not go any further without an escort. I spent the next hour frantically trying to get a hold of Peggy. It was the most frustrating part of the whole trip because we had no WiFi outside Olympic Park. Whose idea was that? WiFi outside the park would have made too much sense. So, I had to keep returning to the crowded mall, which was a three or four minute walk, which I had to do almost 100 times. Peggy finally emails me and said she will not pick us up but someone named Nikki would.

Nikki finally showed up about 30 minutes later and took me through the park. She was my ticket to get through security. She walked us through the park, stopping and letting me take pictures of all the amazingly big complexes. I wanted to go inside all of them and watch what was going on. I arrived at the Media Center and was told I could go to a press conference being held.

Snapping a picture with Jorge Posada, former New York Yankees catcher

I knew there was one with Team USA Track & Field, but didn’t know if I could get in. Finally, I get in and I get a big rush as I realize I am a journalist covering the Olympic Games. It was an amazing feeling, making me for sure know this is the career field I want to get into. I sat and listened while other journalist shot questions at the Olympians. It was an amazing experience as I gathered material to write my own stories. The press conference is the best and most enjoyable thing I have been to this whole Olympics.

After the press conference we went to the official Olympic store. It was full of people trying to find the perfect gifts. I found a T-shirt for my younger sister and I got my younger brother, who is about to get his drivers license, an Olympic key chain. As we made our way through the mall, a fellow BSU at the Games student spotted a former New York Yankees catcher, Jorge Posada. I am a huge Yankee fan, so I was star struck. I wanted to go get a picture with him didn’t want to bother him. After thinking it over, I was convinced to go and talk to him because what was the worst we could do? Say no and then we just keep on our merry way? So I walked up to him and shook his hand as I said I am a huge Yankees fan and he was one of my favorites. I then asked for a picture and he said he would. When he said yes I could not stop smiling.

I felt like I was on top of the world.

So, what started out as a rough morning of delayed tubes and not knowing who was coming to get me, ended with a great story to share with people and a picture with one of my favorite athletes.

Charlie Akers  |  Sports Reporter

@The8thKing

Daily Video: Update from London

BSU at the Games provides this update on events to watch in the closing days of the Olympic Games. Featuring USA Track & Field’s Wallace Spearmon and USA Swimming’s Alex Meyer.

Update from London

Daily Video: Under the water with U.S. Synchro

Above the water, their routine is simple. Under the water, Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva would say differently. BSU at the Games takes you “behind the scenes” with Team USA’s only two synchro athletes at the Olympic Games.

Under the water with U.S. Synchro

Daily Video: The Errol Spence Jr. Story

His journey began inside a run-down boxing gym in southern Dallas. Now the No. 1 U.S. welterweight boxer, Errol Spence Jr., finds himself fighting for a medal in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The Errol Spence Jr. Story

My Olympic moment: a long wait, the rings and … wow

As I walked out of Westfield Shopping Centre near the grounds of Olympic Park, I was awestruck by the view.

The biggest set of Olympic rings I’d ever seen were right in front of me, plastered on the northeast wall of the Aquatics Centre.

There were countless fences and security tents to get through before I reached the massive building, but the sheer size of it made it look close enough to touch.

Unfortunately, the whole scene was just a tease for two and a half hours because I was denied access with my guest pass.

The whole park was on lockdown, but when I was finally escorted through, all the frustration became worth the wait.

Every direction I looked, there were thousands upon thousands of people walking around the venues and fighting their way into shops. It was the never-ending madhouse that usually gets me annoyed and angry, but this time it was different. The row of stadiums made me feel like I was at the heart of Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago sports all at once.

It was then I had my first real moment of disbelief—these were the Olympic Games and I was actually there.

Connor Hockett  |  Sports Reporter

Daily Video: Lance Brooks | USA Track & Field

BSU at the Games continues its daily video series introducing you to members of Team USA. Today, meet USA Track & Field’s Lance Brooks who didn’t begin his career as a discus thrower.

Lance Brooks – USA Track & Field 

Daily Video: USA Basketball All-Access

BSU at the Games provides this “behind-the-scenes” look from a recent USA Men’s Basketball Team practice in London. Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Coach K and more visit with our crew.

USA Basketball All-Access

YouTube can make Olympians

By Charlie Akers | BSU at the Games

Triple jumper Christian Taylor didn’t learn his Olympic sport in a traditional way. After doing the long jump until he was 15 years old, he decided to find a new sport in a non-traditional way – through YouTube.

“I got on YouTube and talked to my coach about it and he said maybe you should try this out,” Taylor said.

Taylor began studying the YouTube videos because he became bored with the simple running and jumping of the long jump he said. After his coach said yes, he prowled the internet video site and ordered some DVDs to help him master his new sport. He watched the greats of time and made notes of what they were doing to help him become the Olympian he is today.

When Taylor first started watching videos on YouTube one of the athletes he watched was Great Britain triple jumper Phillips Idowu. The two of them are now rivals competing against each other. Phillips has withdrawn from the past few meetings due to injury but is competing in the Olympics.

Before Taylor became an Olympian he created Georgia high school records in long jump, triple jump and the 400m he still holds. At the University of Florida, where he attended for three years, he was a 10-time All American and won eight SEC championships.

Then, Taylor won the 2011 gold medal in the triple jump at the World Outdoor competition.

“Last year, I was the underdog. It took one jump, and I went from the last person into the finals to the winner,” Taylor said. “I’m confident, and hopefully I will be in the finals. I’m going for the gold.”

Even with the young age of all the jumpers, Team USA men’s coach Andrew Valmon has faith in them.

“They are students of the sport. To be a student is to be successful,” Valmon said.

Despite Taylor being the current World Champion he is not taking anything for granted and is working hard for gold. He trained through hot weather, cold weather and rain. According to Taylor he is ready for anything.

“I’m going jump by jump. My main focus is the qualifying rounds,” Taylor said. “I’m trying to be the young cat that brings it back.”

The USA has not had an Olympic medal in triple jump since Kenny Harrison in 1996. Now, seven years after watching his first YouTube clip, Taylor is hoping to win one in his first Olympic appearance.

Charlie Akers is a sophomore telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Charlie and the BSU team at @the8thKing,@bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.