Andrew Chesebro, Harvard Department of Athletics
For 168 years, dating back to 1844 when the first boat club was organized, Harvard has shown both leadership and competitive excellence in Division I athletics. This summer Harvard has added one more chapter to its storied athletics history, as 10 current and former student-athletes and coaches represent their respective countries at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
For some it’s business as usual. Caryn Davies ’05 is competing in her third Olympic Games and won her third medal (first Gold!) as a member of Team USA’s Women’s Eight (that’s crew for those of you unfamiliar with the sport). For others, including 19-year old Temi Fagbenle ’15 who is playing for Great Britain’s women’s basketball team, it’s a brand-new experience that cannot be duplicated.
Then there are those of us behind-the-scenes in the Murr Center, working each day to better the student-athlete experience for Harvard’s more than 1,200 varsity student-athletes. We get to watch in amazement as these incredible individuals, many of whom we’ve grown close with over the years, compete on sport’s biggest stage against the best athletes in the world. And not only are they competing against the best, they’re beating the best!
Did you know that Harvard has sent 223 current or former student-athletes to the Olympics and has been represented at every modern Olympic Games? Also, did you know that Harvard has won 104 total medals (including four this year!), a total greater than the medal count for countries such as Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand?Heck, if Harvard were its own country at the 2012 Summer Games, its four medals at the time of my writing this would have the Crimson tied for 29th in the world! Think about that.And think about this. Next fall, when you sit down to begin the first class of your college career, you may not only be sitting beside the future President of the United States, you may be sitting beside a future Olympic Champion.
Just further proof that Harvard is the living embodiment of “Leadership and Competitive Excellence in Division I Athletics.”
Caryn Davies ’04-05 actually won her 2nd Olympic Gold Medal and became the most decorated rower in Harvard’s history. She has three Olympic medals – silver 2004, gold 2008, and gold 2012 in the sport of Rowing (not crew). Also in the gold medal winning boat with Davies was Esther Lofgren ’07-09 who is on her first Olympic team.
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