There has been plenty of excitement over the recent launch of the 2012 London Olympics. Over one billion people worldwide tuned in to watch the opening ceremonies in London on Friday, July 27th and even more are eager to watch the famous match ups of various athletes in the diverse Olympic competitions. However, there is a secondary enthusiasm for the start of these games in College Station, Texas. Thanks to the outstanding athletic programs at Texas A&M University, 23 Aggie athletes will be competing in various sports with several associated personal appearing in coaching positions, reporting, as well as to simply show support for the students representing such a great institution.
The twenty-three Aggie athletes that will be appearing in the London Olympics will be representing fourteen different nations. Among the list are Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas: along with Estonia, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, Tonga, the US Virgin Islands, Lithuania, Croatia, and Zambia.
Fifteen of the twenty-three Aggies are women, outnumbering their Aggie male Olympians by almost twice as many. This reflects a national trend, as this is the first Olympics ever that the number of female Olympic athletes have outnumbered the population of the male athletes. However, Texas A&M’s proportion most likely has more to do with A&M’s outstanding women’s swimming and diving program.
The women’s swimming and diving program at Texas A&M University have been consistently nationally ranked for the past several years, winning the Big 12 Conference championship for 4 of the last 6 years. They are currently ranked 6th in the Nation, with several national champions.
Thus it almost naturally follows that eleven of the fifteen Aggie women athletes currently competing in London qualified for swimming and diving events. Only two of these will be representing the United States: Cammile Adams in the 200 Butterfly and Breeja Larson in the 100 Breaststroke. The other nine women will be swimming for their various home countries including Canada, Croatia, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, and Estonia.
The Texas A&M Women’s Swimming Coach, Steve Bultman will also be involved in the Olympics game, being hired as an assistant swimming coach for the United States Swim Team.
The Texas A&M Men’s swimming and diving team, ranked 18th in the Nation, only has two athletes competing in the Olympic Games: Amini Fonua will be swimming the 100 Breaststroke for Tonga, and Eric Sehn will be diving for Canada.
While swimming might not be a major representing the Aggie male athletes, Track and Field is. Texas A&M’s Men’s Outdoor Track and Field team is currently ranked #1 in the nation, having won the 2009, 2010, and 2011 National championship for both men and women’s outdoor track.
Texas A&M has five Olympians competing in London for Men’s Track and Field events. None of these will be competing for the United States: instead the Aggie track stars will be competing for Zambia, the Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, and the US Virgin Islands. The only other Aggie male athlete, Antanas Kavaliauskas, will be playing Basketball for Lithuania.
Only three Aggie women will be competing in Track and Field in the 2012 Olympics, one of which, Jeneba Tarmoh, will be competing in the 4 X 100 Relay for the United States. The other two women, Janeil Bellille and Kanika Beckles, are competing for Trinidad & Tobago and Grenada, respectively.
The only other Aggies that will be representing the United States are competing in Women’s Archery. Jennifer Nichols, a member of the Texas A&M Archery Club Team, will be shooting for the US for her third Olympics. Nichols competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, whereas for Miranda Leek, Nichols Aggie companion representing the US in Archery, this will be her first Olympics.
Only five of the Aggies in London for the 2012 Games have had previous Olympic appearances, the vast majority being first time Olympians. Only one of which, Jennifer Nichols for Archery, has had qualified multiple times for the United States.
The Aggies and their sports, along with the Country they are representing, are listed as below:
Name – Sport – Country
Cammile Adams Swimming United States
Breeja Larson Swimming United States
Triin Aljand Swimming Estonia
Alia Atkinson Swimming Jamaica
Erica Dittmer Swimming Mexico
Liliana Ibanez Swimming Mexico
Rita Medrano Swimming Mexico
Kim Pavlin Swimming Croatia
Julia Wilkinson Swimming Canada
Jaele Patrick Diving Australia
Amini Fonua Swimming Tonga
Eric Sehn Diving Canada
Jeneba Tarmoh Track and Field United States
Janeil Bellille Track and Field Trinidad & Tobago
Kanika Beckles Track and Field Grenada
Wayne Davis II Track and Field Trinidad & Tobago
Deon Lendore Track and Field Trinidad & Tobago
Tabarie Henry Track and Field US Virgin Islands
Demetrius Pinder Track and Field Bahamas
Gerald Phiri Track and Field Zambia
Jennifer Nichols Archery United States
Miranda Leek Archery United States
Susan Hilton (979)764-2100
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