Bulldogs in Britain

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The University of Georgia was well represented by 30 students, alumni and staff at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. In addition to students like swimmer Allison Schmitt (see page 28), athletes included alumni like tennis player John Isner (M ’07) and diver Chris Colwill (AB ’08). UGA’s Head Diving Coach Dan Laak served as assistant coach for the U.S. diving team, and former Lady Dog basketball player and five-time Olympian Theresa Edwards (BSEd ’89) served as chef de mission, or manager, for the U.S. team in London. Here’s a roundup of the medal winners and participants who made the Bulldog Nation proud!

Shannon Vreeland Overland Park, Kan., Swimming

Vreeland

UGA junior Shannon Vreeland was something of a dark horse at the 2012 London Olympics. Unlike teammate Allison Schmitt, she wasn’t expected to medal. So when Vreeland won gold as a member of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, it was a surprise to everyone but perhaps UGA Swim Coach Jack Bauerle. Back in May, Bauerle told Vreeland that she needed to change her expectations. “You’re in the perfect situation,” he told her, “because no one thinks you’re going to do this, so no one’s going to be bothering you and telling you that you should.” Vreeland swam the third leg of the relay, followed by Schmitt’s anchor leg, that set an Olympic record of 7:42:92. “I’ve watched the Olympics forever,” she says. “I would like cry along with the people on the medal stand from home. So being able to do that myself was a dream come true.” Vreeland is majoring in economics and international affairs. She plans to attend graduate school and keep swimming, with an eye on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I feel like I’m just starting to hit my stride in long-course swimming,” she says.

 

Amanda Weir (M ’05) Lawrenceville, Ga., Swimming

Weir

Weir, who swam for UGA during her freshman year of college in 2004-05, won a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle relay at the 2012 Olympic Games. During her year at UGA, Weir was on the 2005 400-meter freestyle team that won the NCAA championship. She won silver medals in the 400-meter freestyle relay and the 400-meter medley relay at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. At the 2006 nationals she set an American record by winning her third national title in the individual 100-meter freestyle event. Nicknamed “Hollywood” because she always wears sunglasses, Weir graduated from the University of Southern California in 2009 with a degree in fine art. Weir is married to Chris Davis, a coach and former swimmer at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is planning a career in interior design.

 

Reese Hoffa (BSEd ’02) Athens, Ga., Track and field

Hoffa

The third time was the charm for shot putter Reese Hoffa (BSEd ’02), who competed in his third Olympics this summer and won his first medal—a bronze. “It was an absolutely incredible experience to get an Olympic medal, to finally earn my star in terms of representing the U.S.,” he says. After the Olympics Hoffa earned first-place finishes at meets in Poland, Switzerland, Berlin and Zagreb, Croatia—besting Olympic gold medalist Tomasz Majewski at the last two—before heading home to wife Renata Foerst (BSEd ’05) for some well-deserved rest. During the fall, he made appearances at schools and spoke at events in support of an issue close to his heart—foster care and adoption. Hoffa was adopted at the age of 4, a story that he recounted at the news conference after his Olympic win. In November he served as keynote speaker for a National Adoption Day gala in Washington, D.C. Hoffa plans to compete through 2014 while also updating his teaching certification. When he retires, he hopes to teach physical education at the high school level. “If I didn’t make it as a track and field athlete, education was the direction that I wanted to go in with my life,” he says.

 

UGA students and alumni athletes representing the United States

Chris Colwill (AB ’08) Brandon, Fla. Diving

Colwill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teresa Edwards (BSEd ’89) Smyrna, Ga. Served as Chef de Mission, or team manager, for the U.S. Olympic team in London.

Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hyleas Fountain (BSFCS ’10) Port Orange, Fla. Track and Field

Fountain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Gemmell Junior Wilmington, Del. Swimming

Gemmell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dan Laak Head diving coach Served as assistant coach for the U.S. diving team

Laak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Isner (M ’07) Greensboro, N.C. Tennis

Isner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kibwe Johnson (M ’03) Carriere, Miss. Track and Field

Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kara Lynn Joyce (M ’11) Ann Arbor, Mich. Swimming

Joyce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jarryd Wallace Sophomore Athens, Ga. Track and Field (Paralympics)

Wallace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UGA students and alumni athletes representing other countries

ARGENTINA

Jenny Dahlgren (AB ’08) Spring, Texas, Track and Field

BAHAMAS

Debbie Ferguson- McKenzie (BS ’00) Clermont, Fla., Track and Field

Shaunae Miller Freshman Nassau, Bahamas, Track and Field

CANADA

Sultana Frizell (M ’07) Perth, Ontario, Canada, Track and Field

Brittany MacLean Freshman Etobicoke, Ontario,  Canada,  Swimming

Brittany Rogers Freshman Port Coquitlan, British Columbia, Canada Gymnastics

CROATIA

Andras Haklits (AB ’03) Allentown, Pa. Track and Field

Martin Maric (M ’08) Split, Croatia Track and Field

FINLAND

Matias Koski Freshman Duluth, Ga. Swimming

GERMANY

Sarah Poewe (AB ’09) Cape Town,  South Africa Swimming

GREAT BRITAIN

Elizabeth Reid (M ’12) London, England Volleyball

KUWAIT

Yousef Alaskari Freshman Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Swimming

POLAND

Aleksandra Putra (AB ’10) Chassagny, France Swimming

SOUTH AFRICA

Troyden Prinsloo (BSFCS ’11) Durban, South Africa Swimming

Wendy Trott (AB ’12) Cape Town, South Africa Swimming

ST. LUCIA

Levern Spencer (BSHP ’08) Castries, St. Lucia Track and Field

TURKEY

Ediz Yildirimer Freshman The Woodlands, Texas Swimming