Posts tagged "Team USA"

Life is beautiful

We were set on a mission to find a store full of Team USA gear. After getting sketchy directions to the store by someone that had just gone there and was wearing the apparel, we walked for nearly 30 minutes without a single sighting of the store.

We kept on walking, determined to find this place, until we came across a set of Olympic rings that we hadn’t seen before and no one had seen until August 5th. The Olympic rings were created out of paint cans and the rings looked as though paint was still spilling out of them.

The rings where actually part of a giant show put on by Mr. Brainwash, the artist.

As we walked around the giant converted office space, it was clear the artist had used the entire space as his canvas. Pop art was scattered all over the place. Pieces ranged from The Beatles theme to giant rubber tire sculptures.

Mr. Brainwash has had several big art shows in cities like Los Angeles, New York City and Miami. London is his first solo art show in Europe and what a perfect timing with the Olympic Games being here.

It was a wonderland with strange objects all around. We got a kick out of taking pictures with the pieces. My favorite was a giant boom box. Although it wasn’t functional, it was fun to pretend like you were turning up the music.

Though there was a wide range of mediums, there were two consistent themes that Mr. Brainwash expressed. “Follow your dreams” and  “Life is beautiful”— two perfect themes to play along with the Olympics.

Michael Kerkhoff  |  Sports Reporter

Quadruple sculls rowers come just shy of Olympic dream

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

U.S. quadruple sculls rowers Elliot Hovey, Peter Graves, Alex Osborne and Wes Plermarini sprinted out of the blocks with the rest of the boats during the repechage heat.

They were right there alongside New Zealand, Italy and Switzerland when disaster struck 350 meters into the first leg of the race.

Permarini, a four-year veteran rower and 2008 Olympian, was positioned at the front when the blade of his oar suddenly became lodged in the water, bringing the boat to dead stop.

“We had a great start; we were right with the field, right where we wanted to be, and then I got a massive boat-stopping crab,” Permarini said in a press release.

Not an animal crab. Permarini was talking about a stroke that simply gets caught under the water.

The delay put the U.S. a length and a half behind the rest of the field. Without hesitating, the four rowers restarted the race and charged after the teams in front of them.

Their adrenaline pushed them back into contention, sprinting with every last bit of energy they had at a rate of more than 40 strokes per minute.

Suddenly, the gap began to narrow.

The four men rowed the second fastest 500-meter sprint on the second quarter and the fastest split in the third quarter to pull within an inch of the Swiss with the finish line on the horizon.

They continued to dig their oars harder and deeper into the water. Faster and faster they went. Their arms were throbbing, but they had to press on.

Despite giving it everything they had, their last-second efforts weren’t enough to overpower the rest of the field.

For Piermarini, Osborne, Graves and Hovey, their Olympic dream came to a halt. They finished fourth with a time of 5:45.62 behind Switzerland, who crossed the line at 5:44.90. New Zealand won the race in 5:43.82, followed by Italy in 5:44.57.

For what seemed like hours, three of the men sat in their boat stunned, while Hovey’s face was buried in his hands.

Years of training for this one race, and not the outcome the group had hoped for.

“Right there, we had the opportunity to role over and die and we said absolutely not, not today,” Hovey said in a press release. “You guys are not getting off easy, and we’re going to come and get it. And that’s exactly what we did.

“We did a start again, and it came naturally. Everyone was on the same page. We were catching it. We could taste it. It got a little ragged at the end, but we went for it and we just fell short.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the crew and the performance that was done by the guys around me and I would not have chosen to row with another group of guys, and I mean that sincerely.”

The agony of falling short of their goal didn’t strike Osborne until minutes after the race ended.

“It kind of hit me,” Osborne said in a press release. “The regatta is over for us and it’s a terrible feeling. You cross the line and aside from the pain in my legs and forearms, I was overcome with just a pit in my stomach that we were done racing. It’s really tough because we worked so hard for each other. We wanted to keep going, but I’m proud of the way we competed in the end.”

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

“Wrestling” my way into a Team USA event

On Tuesday, Aug. 7, I had the most fun I have had since arriving in London. I was lucky enough to attend the Team USA men’s freestyle wrestling practice and media day.

I used to wrestle—starting in the fourth or fifth grade and continued through my senior year of high school. Needless to say, I loved every minute of the practice and media day.

While I was there, I got to interview and talk with many of wrestlers. Going in, I was most excited to talk with Sam Hazenwinkel, and I did just that. I talked to him for most of the media day. He was such a cool guy and had great stories to tell.

After talking with him for a while, we parted ways and I changed my focus to his roommate Tervel Dlagnev, the heavyweight. He was a fun guy to talk to as well. He had a great sense of humor, all the while keeping his seriousness at the forefront.

I traveled around the room for about 30 to 45 minutes, talking to as many wrestlers as I could before they started practicing. They began with a warm-up and then grabbed their wrestling partners and got to work.

Watching their practice made me miss wrestling and want to start back up again. In all reality, I probably won’t, but it was a nice thought at the time. I didn’t think I would miss wrestling that much after high school, but I do now. Getting back on the mat would be fun.

What may have not sounded fun to others was something I loved. I wish I could go back to more of their practices and media days. They were really cool guys and the atmosphere was awesome. It was easily the best day I have had during this trip.

Charlie Akers  |  Sports Reporter

@The8thKing

Scoring gold medal tickets

Soccer, a popular sport around the world, generally doesn’t peak my interest.

But it was the Olympic Games. It’s Team USA and Canada with each team vying for a spot in the gold medal match.

The conclusion to this particular match, one of the few matches I’ve watched from start to finish, was unreal. Every time Canada scored, the U.S. came right back to even the contest. The same was true when the U.S. scored. Canada wouldn’t go away.

But it was the U.S. who triumphed 4-3 in extra time, forcing a re-match of last summer’s World Cup final with Japan for the gold medal in London.

The thought of buying tickets never crossed my mind. Everything is so expensive here.

As I departed Worcester for London, I pondered the possibility of getting tickets. Once I arrived at our London flat, I took out my laptop and began browsing the ads on Craigslist.

I came across one particular post, which read: “Four Tickets to Women’s Football Gold Medal Match; CAT A; First Row; Section 144.”

After pulling up the seating chart for Wembley Stadium, I realized these seats were right at midfield.

I replied to the listing and texted the number provided on the ad, “Are those football tix still available for gold medal match?”

Shortly thereafter, my phone lit up with a response, “So far, yes, but many people are calling.”

The asking price was 250 pounds per ticket. The first words out of my mouth were, “Holy cow. That’s outrageous.”

I got a call from, Remi Padoin, the scalper who posted the ad on Craigslist. I told him I was from the United States and wanted to see my country play in the gold medal match. I told him I’d get back to him shortly as I needed to round up three colleagues to go with me.

After asking around for nearly an hour, I was in luck. Alix Sappington, Jena Levy and Sara Schaefer agreed to go with me.

I rushed to my phone, punched in Padoin’s number and told him we’d buy them.

Having no idea who this man was, my stomach started churning. Scalping is illegal and I wanted to make sure we didn’t get caught.

Padoin told me to meet him at the Tottenham Court Road tube station at 7 p.m., roughly an hour from the time I spoke to him.

I hung up the phone and began recruiting volunteers to go with me to pick up the tickets. After another extensive search, Alix and Jena joined me, and we were off to the Farringdon tube station.

Upon arriving at the Tottenham station, I received another text from Padoin, “Hoping on the tube now. There in 15ish. Look for ridiculously long flag pole with Norway flag.”

As Alix, Jena and I made our way toward the exit and walked up the stairs, there was no sign of a long flagpole with a Norway flag.

We decided to go into Burger King for a final count of our money. It was all there.

We came out of Burger King and I couldn’t believe my eyes. A giant Norway flag was swaying through the air right across the street. Padoin was holding the flagpole, draped in a Norway flag while wearing a Norwegian Viking helmet with horns shooting out of both sides.

After being so nervous about making this transaction, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was an entertaining site to see.

The three of us approached Padoin. He greeted us with a smile, shook our hands and showed us the tickets.

He even asked me if I’d like to wear his Viking helmet. I couldn’t resist. All three of us posed for a picture with our newest friend.

Minutes later, I was holding four Olympic women’s football gold medal match tickets in my hand.

It was the strangest of occurrences, but it turned out to be one of the finest moments of this trip to the Olympic Games.

Tyler Poslosky  |   Sports Reporter

BSU at the Games at the gold medal women’s soccer match

A big group from the BSU at the Games team abandoned being journalists for a night in favor of being spectators. They headed to Wembley Stadium, decked out in patriotic gear, to cheer on the women’s soccer team as they competed for a gold medal against Japan. It was a World Cup rematch, and everyone was excited to see Team USA bring home the Olympic gold.

Rediscovering his Olympic dream: the Jared Frayer story

By Conor Hockett  |  BSU at the Games

In 2008, Jared Frayer decided to give up the sport of wrestling—his Olympic dream was dead.

After he finished serving as a training partner for the US Olympic wrestling team in Beijing, Frayer was heading back home to teach and coach high school wrestling in Florida.

Helping others get ready for their matches was the closest he’d get to the Olympic Games, and Frayer accepted that.

But it all changed when, just before leaving China, Frayer received a strange job offer for someone who graduated from the University of Oklahoma.

“As crazy as it was, the University of Iowa is what brought me back (into wrestling),” Frayer said. “They offered me a job in Beijing, and I took it. I went half a year (at Iowa) and then asked myself, ‘What am I doing?’ I wrestle these guys every day and I should still compete. That brought me right back into it.”

At the 2012 Olympic Trials in April, nearly four years had passed since Frayer had taken the assistant coaching position at Iowa, a rival for Oklahoma in college wrestling.

Frayer was back in Iowa City, Iowa, but not as a coach. He had just beaten Brent Metcalf in the 66kg weight class in freestyle wrestling to qualify for his first Olympic Games.

“Physically I was there, but mentally I wasn’t ready to make that (the Olympic) step (earlier in my career),” Frayer said. “I don’t know whether it was becoming a father or just growing up a  little bit, but I made that jump mentally and that allowed me the confidence and ability to make the team.”

At 33 years old, Frayer’s journey to London wasn’t ideal. But after his daughter, Khloe, was born with Down syndrome, Frayer used her struggle to inspire himself, his teammates and a teenager from Florida to never give up on their dreams.

A Wrestling Background

With a dad, David, who wrestled in college and coached after, Frayer was born into the sport. Ever since he was a baby, Frayer said he followed his dad to practices and always wanted to get involved.

“In Florida, wrestling isn’t as big,” Frayer said. “When I was young the sport wasn’t where it is now. So I had to do about everything—go all over the country (to wrestle). I was blessed with a father who was able to do that. Summer times were filled with traveling, and you wrestled as many tournaments as you could.”

David coached Frayer at Countryside High School in Florida where he won three state championships before heading to Oklahoma.

Frayer was a two-time All-American at Oklahoma and finished as the 2002 NCAA runner-up at 149 lbs. After graduating, all his efforts turned toward making the Olympic team.

Before qualifying in 2012, Frayer’s career resembled a journeyman—countless clubs and teams throughout the US and even a few stints overseas.

Wrestling in Iran, Frayer said he remembers fans heckling him about his high school record. Training sessions in India and tournaments in Cuba were the norm. He’d seen and done just about everything in the sport of wrestling.

He was always good enough to stick around, but was missing the big breakthrough into the Games.

In 2010, after losing to Metcalf in the World Team Trials, Frayer decided he was done finishing second. He’d made a career of it after finishing runner-up at the 2006 and 2009 US World Team Trials along with not qualifying for the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

The loss was a turning point in his career. He took a year off to have Khloe and that’s when everything changed. He found a new motivation and mental edge through watching his daughter.

“Now that I look back at it, I think it (having Khloe) played a huge part,” Frayer said. “I think being able to take that year to focus on her and focus on the family really allowed me to grow up and mature a little bit. I think it played a major part in me being able to lay it on the line and get the victory (to qualify).”

Six months into the pregnancy, Frayer and his wife, Nicole, found out Khloe would be born with Down syndrome. It was a shock to both of them, but he said they tried to just learn as much as they could about the disease.

“It’ll make a man look inside himself and find out what he’s all about,” Frayer said. “I remember where I was when it was 100 percent. You think you’re the only guy in the world (dealing with it). But you find out it’s a situation people go through and they grow from. You hear more good things about children with Down syndrome than you do anything bad. It’s just an awesome experience.”

It was an experience that, mathematically, he and his wife were destined to go through.

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Development, the odds of having a child with Down syndrome are 1 in 1,250 (.08 percent). Frayer said the blood tests from he and Nicole were higher than normal. Khloe had a seven percent chance of being born with the disease and, if they had a second child, the chances were five percent.

It was a risk Frayer doesn’t regret taking.

“Khloe is just a ball fire,” Frayer said. “I love hearing her in the background when I’m talking to my wife—love Skyping her. She’s nonstop smiling. She struggles, but she has her own way and I think that’s going to be her whole life. She’s so easy to love—just a joy.”

Frayer said Khloe is delayed in her speech and movements, but is now walking. Despite her limitations, he and Nicole decided to have a second child.

“I think everybody takes that (the odds) into consideration after having a firstborn that has Down syndrome,” Frayer said. “It’s out of our hands. My wife and I have a pretty strong spiritual background. The Lord blessed us with Khloe, and if we had another one (child with down syndrome), we were going to love her just the same.”

Blessing in Disguise

Since Khloe was born, however, everything seems to be going Frayer’s way. Nicole gave birth to the couple’s second daughter, Beckett Olivia, two weeks ago. She was due during the Games, but was born during a three-day period between Frayer’s training camp and his trip to London.

“She (Beckett) is just so little and so precious,” Frayer said. “She was (delivered) five weeks earlier than Khloe was. I got less than two days with her, and I just can’t wait to get back to her. It was definitely a blessing. The Lord had us under his watch, and we were able to sneak her in there.”

Khloe is 19 months old now and Beckett is a perfectly healthy baby. Being the spiritual man he is, Frayer said something has been on his side.

Frayer’s good fortune through a life of struggles has inspired teammates to train even harder.

“Our stories are a lot alike,” Sam Hazewinkel said, the US’s 55kg wrestler. “We both wrestled in Florida, both wrestled at OU. It’s an inspiration to me to watch him fight through. Seeing what he goes through and training with him is awesome. When everything is going on and I start thinking things are going hard for me, I just think, how can I complain? This guy is fighting through all of this and has the best attitude in the world.”

Frayer’s road to the Olympic Games may be the hardest and longest on the team, but it doesn’t take away from the respect other wrestlers have for him.

“My first tour with him in ’08, he was telling me about how he felt like the old guy,” Jake Herbert said, the US’s 84kg wrestler. “Here we are four years later and he’s still going at it. He’s knowledgeable, he’s experienced and Jared is an all-around great guy. It (Frayer’s journey) show’s me this isn’t it for me.”

This hope for others comes because Frayer is the oldest guy on the team by five years. Hazewinkel said the guys don’t give him grief because he’s as dangerous as anyone.

“I’m calling it right now—the dude is gonna crush some people,” Hazewinkel said. “Mark my words, he’s getting some hardware. Would not surprise me at all if that guy comes away with gold. Of the whole team, he’s looked the best the last two weeks. I didn’t think I’d say that with Jordan Burroughs on the team, but he’s been amazing. In simulation matches, Frayer was pinning them (opponents), teching them—just making it look easy.”

Frayer said the visible improvement stems from the recent time devoted to his individual wrestling.

“All these years, I’ve been worried about other guy getting the medal when I’m the training partner,” Frayer said. “Now the last two months have been just me. It hasn’t been since I was probably in college that I focused on just me. I’ve made so much gain in the last month and a half. There’s no reason I’m not turning that outcome around (into something).”

Although his teammates think differently, Frayer acknowledges he’s not the favorite to win a medal. Mehdi Sadegh Taghavi Kermani of Iran has won two of the last three World Championships (2009, 2011) and will be his toughest test.

None of that fazes him though.

To win the Olympic Trials, Frayer had to defeat Metcalf, the same person who beat him at the World Trials in 2010, and the same man he coached for a brief time at Iowa.

“I just had the belief I could beat him because I have in the past,” Frayer said. “I had the approach that it was my match and I was going to take it from him.”

A Wish Granted

It’s that kind of attitude which comes out in Frayer’s wrestling. That’s why Blake Chandler, a 19 year old from just outside Tampa, Fla., has been a fan for years.

Chandler is a wrestler himself, but his situation is different. He is limited to grappling with one leg after a vicious bone cancer forced an amputation of his left leg.

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma March 29, 2011, Chandler managed to fight the disease for nearly a year before losing his leg.

As part of the Make A Wish Foundation, Chandler was allowed to visit the US Olympic wrestling camp on August 7 to meet with all the athletes.

But the one wrestler he wanted to meet more than any other was Frayer.

“I’ve been watching him since I was a freshman,” Chandler said. “I watch his moves and he’s just an amazing wrestler. When I was granted the wish to come here, his parents came to see me and gave me T-shirts and presented me with most of the stuff he has as well. His parents have been awesome to me.”

A handful of US coaches also went down to Florida to present Chandler with tickets and gear at his high school. He was flown to London and was allowed to watch practice and get invaluable instruction.

“I’m having a blast,” Chandler said at the practice session. “I feel very privileged just to be standing in the training room with everybody.”

His journey isn’t stopping there. Two weeks after his amputation, Chandler said he was back on the mat. He hopes to wrestle adult leagues in Florida and have fun with it.

“It’s pretty weird going from wrestling two legs to one,” Chandler said. “It’s going to be all technique and I love it. Learning how to shoot and defend my one leg is pretty hard. Defending on one, I have only one leg to worry about. They’re only going to attack my one leg, so it’s a bonus in a lot of different ways.”

It’s easy to see why Chandler is attracted to Frayer. Their personalities are positive and infectious. Despite each other’s limitations at home or on the mat, they’ve overcome every obstacle.

The Olympic obstacle is the last for Frayer. He’s going into his second year as an assistant coach at Oklahoma and said he looks forward to getting back to recruiting. After all his travels and relocations due to wrestling, he is finally at home back in his college town.

“I was there for six years right out of high school,” Frayer said. “There are so many people around the program that I’m so close with. There’s nothing like flying into TIA (Tampa International Airport) and going back home. But, definitely, Norman, Oklahoma, is my second home and a place I feel really comfortable in.”

The underdog role is another thing Frayer finds comfort in. When he competes on Sunday, likely in his last Olympic Games, it’s exactly the situation Frayer will find himself in.

“I’ve done my best wrestling when I wasn’t supposed to win,” Frayer said. “I don’t think there’s a journalist or a wrestling historian that gives me a shot and that’s exciting to me.”

Conor Hockett is a junior journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Conor and the BSU team at @bsuatthegames and www.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Harper wins silver in women’s 100-meter hurdles

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

Battling against the rain, Dawn Harper needed one last push, a final stride to propel her across the finish line.

As Harper dug down for that last bit of energy, the defending 2008 gold medalist came up just short, settling for silver in the women’s 100m hurdles final inside Olympic Stadium Tuesday night.

In a close finish, Australia’s Sally Pearson edged out Harper by two-hundredths of a second to win gold.

As the hurdlers took their mark and awaited the sound of the gun, a steady rain began to fall.

“When the rain started, it was so dramatic,” Harper said to USA Daily, admitting it made her imagine the theme music of a horror show.

Her heart was thumping with adrenaline.

When Australia’s Sally Pearson appeared to be running away from the field, Harper closed the gap, creating a nerve-racking photo finish that saw Harper cross the finish line slightly after her opponent.

It was such a close call that both Harper and Pearson stood for about a minute, anxiously waiting for the final decision.

“When I leaned at the [finish] line, I looked over and that’s when I finally saw her,” Harper told Yahoo!Sports. “And I was like, ‘Did I sneak? Did I just sneak and get past her?’ I look up, and I actually realized I didn’t win when I saw her fall to the ground. I was like, ‘Dang it, she’s happy. She just won.’”

Pearson had an extensive lead heading into the final two hurdles, with Harper and the rest of the field closely behind.

Entering the final 20 meters of the race, Harper caught the edge of a hurdle. She quickly recovered and broke away from the pack inching closer to Pearson. For a brief second, it looked as if Harper broke the finish line before Pearson.

But the photo finish proved otherwise.

“I knew I needed a good start—but didn’t quite get that,” Harper told Yahoo!Sports. “I just kept telling myself, ‘You have to go to work.’ I couldn’t really feel anybody. I knew [teammate] Kellie [Wells] was right there, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to get in front of Kellie.’

“Then I clipped a hurdle and was thinking, ‘Either you’re winning by a lot because you can’t see anybody, or Sally is so far ahead you just don’t know where you’re at.’ I just remembered thinking, ‘You need to just lean.’ And when I leaned is when I finally saw her.”

Pearson won by running an Olympic record of 12.35 seconds, upgrading her 2008 Olympic silver to 2012 gold.

The U.S. went 2-3-4, led by Harper with a personal best of 12.37 seconds. The silver medal is Harper’s second-career Olympic medal.

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.

Syracuse basketball coach doesn’t have an off-season this year

By Pat Boylan and Brandon Pope  |  BSU at the Games

Legendary Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim’s off-season hasn’t been typical. In fact, it hasn’t even been an off-season.

Instead of recruiting and “resting” for the year ahead, Boeheim is hard at work as an assistant coach for USA Basketball at the London Olympic Games.

Late last week we got the chance to go to a Team USA basketball practice and meet up with Boeheim prior to Monday’s final pool play game against Argentina. After a record-breaking, 83-point win over Nigeria, the U.S. struggled vs. heavy-underdog Lithuania, winning just 99-94.

“Sometimes we forget to give credit to the teams we play,” Boeheim said. “They played well. We missed some shots, missed some free throws and didn’t play the kind of defense we have been playing.”

Boehim was refreshingly honest, or at least it seemed. We interviewed nearly all of Team USA – and as expected – answers to a college program weren’t the most in depth. I don’t mean to say they shrugged us off. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised with the responses from most players, and the fact that they took the time.

But Boeheim was different. He gave long, insightful answers. You could tell he’s done this before and knows what the reporters want.

As with any coach, you’re not happy when your team underperforms. There’s no doubt the U.S. did that against Lithuania. But according to Boehim, the close victory could be a blessing in disguise.

“You don’t want to have those games, but you’re going to be in them so you have to know how to win them.”

There’s little doubt Team USA has the best talent of any country. I’ve always had a ton of respect for Coach K and Boeheim. But after just five minutes with the Syracuse coach, I have no doubt in my mind the U.S. has the best coaching staff as well.

Coming off their first test against Lithuania, the USA men’s basketball players were confident heading into their Group A match against Argentina. That confidence paid off, with the Americans topping Manu’s Argentianian squad 126-97.

Team USA knew what they had to do early in order to capitalize. Their bench played a big role in the game.

“We look forward to trying to have an impact in every game,” Andre Iguodola said, a key non-starter for the U.S. “We try to increase the tempo and our energy is always important for us.”

Now the U.S. just needs a similar performance as they head into the semifinals and a rematch with Argentina.

Pat Boylan is a senior telecommunications major and Brandon Pope is a junior telecommunications and journalism major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Pat, Brandon and the BSU team at@patboylanbsu@bpopeizdope@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

Quick exit leaves Team USA Field Hockey with higher hopes

By Tyler Poslosky  |  BSU at the Games

Whether summer or winter, most U.S. teams rack up the medals during the Olympic Games.

The U.S. men’s and women’s basketball teams consistently blow out their opponents, while the U.S. softball team was so dominant, the sport was removed altogether.

On the ice, the U.S. men’s and women’s hockey teams almost always find themselves standing on the podium.

Inside Riverbank Arena, the blue-turf field-hockey venue, it’s the other way around.

Team USA went 1-4 in the round-robin stage of the Olympic tournament. But their lone win, a 1-0 triumph over perennial powerhouse Argentina, was proof that the U.S. could match up with the best teams in the world.

The four losses meant that the U.S. will not advance for a chance at a podium finish, which hasn’t happened in more than three decades.

Having been eliminated from medaling by New Zealand on Aug. 4, the U.S. rounded out pool play with a devastating 7-0 loss to South Africa.

“In sport[s], you get what you deserve,” coach Lee Bodimeade said. “We got what we deserved.”

The blowout wasn’t what the U.S. expected. It lost to a team that had been outscored by a combined 14-2 margin in its first four matches. With nothing to play for against South Africa, the U.S. lost its swagger.

“It’s disappointing,” Katie O’Donnell said. “In our games against opponents ranked higher than us, we took it to them and shocked the world. And then to come out and play this kind of hockey is saddening.”

The encouraging factor coming out of this tournament is the youth and experience gained by the U.S.

“We have amazing kids coming up,” said Keli Smith-Puzo, who is retiring after this year’s Games. “The young talent is going to be amazing. I think Rio [2016] is going to be a completely different team.”

Sisters Katie and Julia Reinprecht figure to be part of that team four years from now. Katie, 22, and Julia, 21, appear to have a bright future ahead of them with Team USA Field Hockey.

“Now that I’ve got a taste [of the Olympic Games], it’s something I definitely want to come back and try to do again,” Katie said. “I just can’t describe how awesome it is, playing for your country.”

“It’s the best job you could have,” Julia said. “We’ve never played in front of crowds like this. People you don’t even know are here, supporting [us]. It’s one of the coolest things ever.”

Tyler Poslosky is a senior journalism news major at Ball State University covering sports for BSU at the Games. Follow Tyler and the BSU team at @tylerposlosky@bsuatthegames andwww.facebook.com/bsuatthegames.