In just 10 short days, your airwaves and radio waves will be filled with tales of athletes reaching the pinnacle of human excellence, raining glory down on themselves and their nations at the Sydney, Australia, 2000 Olympic games. Amidst the multitudes of athletes exhibiting skill, guts and determination will be 17 individuals with current or past ties to the University. The U-M contingent is composed of athletes, coaches and an umpire.
Here at home will be another Olympic affiliate, William Martin, at the helm of the Athletic Department. Martin has served on the U.S. Olympic Committee since 1995, and took a turn on the Olympic budget committee. Commenting on Michigans role in the Olympics, Martin said, The coaches, students and former students we have participating in the Summer Olympics should make the entire Michigan family extremely proud.
Most everyone follows football, hockey and both basketball programs, and now theyll get to see the type of quality we have in all our sports that enabled us to place third in the Sears Cup last season.
Incoming student Elise Ray, of Columbia, Md., was named the 2000 U.S. National Champion gymnast after taking the all-around title at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, scoring 76.839 to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. On her strong performance, Ray said, Im not afraid of taking the leadership role. I think the team will join together to be really strong. I feel a little overwhelmed with different emotions, but Im excited for Sydney.
Ray has signed a letter of intent to enroll at the University in January.
Swimmer Chris Thompson, a student at the U-M since 1997, will participate in the 1,500-meter freestyle after finishing second at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Aug. 16. Thompson, of Roseburg, Ore., captured All-American honors with a third-place finish in the 400-m freestyle at the NCAA Championships. At the same competition last year, Thompson also won the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle.
Samantha Arsenault, an incoming first-year student from Peabody, Mass., will participate in the womens 800m freestyle relay. Arsenault finished second in the 200m at the 1998 U.S. Open.
Former U-M standouts Tom Dolan (199496) and Tom Malchow (199699) also will be on the U.S. mens swimming team after winning their respective events at the Olympic trials. Dolan will participate in the 400m individual medley (IM). After winning a gold medal in the same event at the 1996 Olympics, Dolan was featured on the cover of a Wheaties cereal box. Malchow will participate in the 200m butterfly. This year Malchow broke the world record for the 200m fly in the Cadillac Challenge Swim Series at Charlotte, N.C.
U-M mens swimming coach Jon Urbanchek will be an assistant coach at the Olympic games for the fifth consecutive time. Urbanchek also coached in 1984, 1998, 1992 and 1996. This is his 19th year at Michigan.
On Team Canada will be Shannon Shakespeare (19972000), Mike McWha (19972000) and Owen von Richter (199598) in swimming, and Kevin Sullivan (199498) in mens track.
Shakespeare, a resident of Winnipeg, Mannitoba, will compete in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays. Shakespeare set the Canadian record in the 50m freestyle in 1993.
McWha, of Edmonton, Alberta, also will participate in the 4x200m freestyle relay for the mens team. McWha finished sixth in the 2000 Maritime Olympic Life Trials in Montreal, Quebec.
Von Richter of Mississauga, Ontario, will participate in the 400m IM. Von Richter finished eleventh at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships in Sydney.
Representing Team Brazil will be former U-M swimmer Gustavo Borges (199295). Borges will swim in the 50m and 100m freestyle events and on a Brazilian relay team. An experienced Olympian, Borges earned a silver metal in the 200m freestyle and a bronze in the 100m in the 1996 Olympics and two silver metals in the 100m and 200m freestyle events of the 1992 Olympics.
Representing the Dutch team will be former Michigan athlete Marcel Wouda (199395). Wouda will compete in the 200m IM, as well as the 4x200 freestyle relay. From Tillburg, The Netherlands, Wouda is the current world and European champion in the 200m IM.
Team Turkey will be represented by Derya Buyukuncu (199598) in the 100m backstroke. Buyukuncu set Turkish national records in the 100 meter backstroke and the 100-meter butterfly in the 1996 Olympic games.
Francisco Suriano Siu (19972000) from El Salvador will make a repeat appearance in the Olympic games swimming in the 100m and 200m breaststroke. He participated in the same events in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Geo.
Abel Sanchez (199295) of Peru will participate in the platform diving competition. Sanchez is the first diver from Peru to participate in a major international competition. In May, he finished 11th in the FINA Diving World Cup at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Canadian Kevin Sullivan (199498) will race in the 800m, the 1500m and the mile run. In July, Sullivan set a Canadian record for the mile and at the end of June he set the Canadian record in the 1500m. Sullivan ran a 3:52 mile his second year at Michigan, and is the only North American high school runner to run faster than a 4-minute mile in more than 30 years. U-M track head coach Ron Warhurst coaches Sullivan.
The USA Softball team will have a University presence, too, with U-M assistant coach Jennifer Brundage. Brundage helped her team win the 1999 U.S. Olympic Cup and was a member of the USA Team that won the 1999 Pan American Games.
Recently named assistant womens water polo coach Bernice Orwig will be the USA team goaltender at the Sydney Olympic games. Orwig led the University of Southern California to a 1999 national championship, receiving tournament Most Valuable Player and best goalie honors.
An experienced NBA player and coach, Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich will coach this years basketball dream team. Prior to the NBA Tomjanovich starred at U-M in 196870. An All-America selection in 1970, he finished his senior year ranked as the NCAAs seventh leading scorer.
From the School of Dentistry, Rich Fetchiet will be an umpire for the Olympic baseball competition. Fetchiet is one of two Americans selected among the 18 umpires from around the world to officiate Olympic baseball. At the U-M, Fetchiet is dentistrys director of external relations and continuing education.
For an historic perspective of University athletes in the Olympics, visit the Bentley Historical Librarys Web page, Michigan in the Olympics, www.umich.edu/~bhl/bhl/olymp2/oltitle.htm. The page is maintained by associate archivist Greg Kinney.