COLLEGE STATION—The largest ever contingent of Texas A&M University representatives will make their way to the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing, China. With 17 Aggie athletes and coaches representing nine different countries, the opening ceremonies are scheduled for Aug. 8 and closing ceremonies are slated for Aug. 24.
“Just making the Olympics is a great accomplishment and I know everyone at Texas A&M is very proud of our student-athletes, coaches and former students who have qualified for the Beijing Olympic Games,” Aggie Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said. “We wish them all the very best in the upcoming competitions.”
Two former students have been named to the USA Olympic team for the third time in their respective fields of expertise. Former volleyball standout Stacy Sykora was named to the USA women’s Olympic volleyball team and Vic Wunderle, an Aggie Class of 2002, was named to the USA archery Olympic team for the third consecutive time.
In the track and field portion of the Olympics (Aug. 15-24), a couple of Aggie volunteer assistant coaches who ran for Coach Pat Henry at LSU have earned spots. Sprinter Muna Lee competed in the 2004 Games in Athens and has qualified for the USA track and field squad. One of the top quartermilers in the world, Alleyne Francique placed fourth in 2004 in Athens and he will compete for Grenada.
Off of this past year’s Aggie track and field team, seniors Richard Adu-Bobie of Canada and Simone Facey of Jamaica have made their respective Olympic squads. Allison George was a junior last year and she earned a place on the Grenada Olympic team in the 100 and 200 meters.
The first Aggie female pole vaulter and still Aggie record holder in both the indoor and outdoor competitions, Erica (Boren) Bartolina, placed third in the U.S. Olympic Trials with a personal best of 14-11 to earn her spot on the USA squad.
Long jumper Fabrice Lapierre, a four-year Aggie letterman and 2005 NCAA Champion, has qualified for the Australian Olympic team.
Sprinter Tyrone Edgar was named to the Great Britain Olympic squad in both the 100 and the 4 X 100 relay pool.
In the swimming pool (Aug. 9-17), four members of the Aggie squad that placed fourth in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships this past season will compete in Beijing. Aggie women’s swimming head coach Steve Bultman will serve as an assistant coach on the Estonia Olympic squad as he tutors A&M junior Triin Aljand.
Junior Christine Marshall became the first Aggie female swimmer to earn a spot on the USA Olympic team. Marshall swam a career-best time of 1:58.16 in the championship final of the 200-meter freestyle to earn a spot on the American 800 freestyle relay team.
Three of Marshall’s teammates will compete in Beijing as well. Junior Julia Wilkinson will compete in eight events for Canada, while Aljand has earned a spot on the Estonia Olympic team and sophomore Alia Atkinson has earned a place on the Jamaica Olympic squad. This will mark the second consecutive Olympic Games for both Aljand and Atkinson.
On the men’s side of the swimming pool, former swimmer Francisco Picasso will swim for Uruguay and sophomore-to-be Balazs Makany will swim for the Hungarian Olympic team for a second time.
The last Aggie to win a gold medal in the Olympic Games was in 2000 when Aggie softball standout Jennifer McFalls was part of the USA Gold Medal softball team.
2008 OLYMPIC GAMES (BEIJING, CHINA)
17 TEXAS A&M ATHLETES & COACHES
Richard Adu-Bobie, Canada Men’s Track & Field
Triin Aljand, Estonia Women’s Swimming & Diving
Alia Atkinson, Jamaica Women’s Swimming & Diving
Erica (Boren) Bartolina, USA Women’s Track & Field
Steve Bultman (Texas A&M Women’s Swimming Head Coach), Estonia Asst. Coach
Tyrone Edgar, Great Britain Men’s Track & Field
Simone Facey, Jamaica Women’s Track & Field
Alleyne Francique (Volunteer Asst. Coach at Texas A&M), Grenada Men’s Track & Field
Allison George, Grenada Women’s Track & Field
Fabrice Lapierre, Australia Men’s Track & Field
Muna Lee (Volunteer Asst. Coach at Texas A&M), USA Women’s Track & Field
Balazs Makany, Hungary Men’s Swimming & Diving
Christine Marshall, USA Women’s Swimming & Diving
Francisco Picasso, Uruguay Men’s Swimming & Diving
Stacy Sykora, USA Women’s Volleyball
Julia Wilkinson, Canada Women’s Swimming & Diving
Vic Wunderle, USA Archery (Class of ’02)