COLUMBUS, Ohio – It’s the ultimate goal for an athlete or a coach. It’s the pinnacle of competition. And for 14 Buckeyes, that dream is about to become a reality.
As the Olympic Flame lights up the London sky Friday evening at the Opening Ceremony to symbolize the start of the 30th Summer Games, 12 current or former Ohio State student-athletes and two current coaches will represent a combined eight countries.
You can find their biographies, schedule of events and television broadcasts right here at go.osu.edu/OSU_Olympians. And join the conversation on Twitter (#OSUOlympians) for the duration of the 17-day Games July 27-Aug. 12.
See below for a breakdown of the 14 Buckeyes who will participate with the world’s best (by schedule of events).
But first, some quick hits:
– Three of the 2012 Olympians are current student athletes: fencers Zain and Mona Shaito and rifle’s Amanda Furrer. Fencer Margarita Tschomakova was a senior in 2012
– Eight of the nine former student-athletes earned their degrees
– All-time, 154 athletes/coaches with Ohio State ties have competed in the Olympics
– Combined, 68 athletes/coaches with Ohio State ties have won 106 Olympic medals (47 gold, 37 silver and 22 bronze)
– Margot Shumway was an Olympian in 2008, Louise Bond-Williams was in the 2004 Games. Coach Vince Panzano will be coaching in his fourth Olympics. Coach Lou Rosselli was a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team (114.5 pounds)
1. Roger Espinoza (2007), Honduras, Men’s Soccer
Espinoza and Honduran national team begin group play vs. Morocco Thursday at Hampden Park
Roger Espinoza, who helped lead the Ohio State men’s soccer team to the 2007 national championship game, is one of three overage players named to the Honduran Olympic team’s roster. Espinoza, a current member of the Kansas City Wizards and a World Cup veteran, is the first former Ohio State soccer player to earn a roster spot for the Olympic Games.
2. George Markovic (2007-10), Serbia, Swimming
Markovic set to compete in the 400 meter freestyle and 4×100 freestyle relay team Saturday-Sunday at London Aquatics Center
Markovic was a 2010 NCAA All-American and won a Big Ten championship in the 500 freestyle. During his senior season, Markovic was captain of the 2010 Big Ten Championship team. Not only will he be competing in the 400 meter freestyle, but the former Buckeye will be a part of the first Serbian relay team, participating in the 4×100 freestyle relay. A finance major, Markovic graduated from Ohio State in autumn 2010. (A fun fact – the Aquatic Center seats 17,500 and holds approximately 2.6 million gallons of water).
3. Mona Shaito (2012-Present), Lebanon, Fencing
Mona Shaito will compete in the women’s foil beginning Saturday at Copper Box
Mona Shaito, the sister/teammate of Zain Shaito, was the first of three Ohio State fencers who were a part of the NCAA champion squad to earn a berth to the 2012 Games. She was the second-youngest competitor at the Olympic Qualifier in Wakayama, Japan, edging fencers from Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam, among other countries. She defeated Singapore’s Ruth Yi Lin Ng in the final to earn gold at the event (Copper Box – the 2012 Olympics facility for fencing along with handball).
4. Claudia Wurzel (2007-09), Italy, Rowing
Wurzel will be in action in the women’s pair Saturday at Dorney Lake
Wurzel punched her ticket to London after finishing seventh in the pair at the 2011 World Rowing Championships last fall in Bled, Slovenia. Representing Italy in the B Final, Wurzel paired with Sara Bertolasi and clipped the United States by .69 seconds to win the race and earn her trip to the Summer Games. Wurzel graduated from Ohio State in 2009 with a degree in international studies.
5. Samantha Cheverton (2008-10), Canada, Swimming
Cheverton to compete in 200 meter freestyle July 30 at London Aquatics Center
Cheverton secured a spot on the Canadian Olympic team with a second-place finish in the 200-meter freestyle in March at the Canadian Olympic Trials. She clocked in an Ohio State long course record time of 1:57.98 at the national event and will also be a member of the 800 meter freestyle relay squad. Cheverton, a member of the Ohio State program from 2007-11, finished her degree in psychology in December of 2010.
6. Margot Shumway (2001-02), United States, Rowing
Shumway hits the water July 30 in the women’s double sculls at Dorney Lake
Shumway qualified for the Games for the U.S. Rowing Team in May after collecting a first-place finish at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. Rowing with partner Sarah Trowbridge, the duo edged out the Netherlands in the final by 1.29 seconds to win the race. This will be the second Olympic Games for Shumway, who also rowed stroke for the women’s quadruple sculls in the 2008 games in Beijing. She graduated from Ohio State in 2002 with a degree in comparative studies.
7. Zain Shaito (2011-Present), Lebanon, Fencing
Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year begins competition in men’s foil July 31 at Copper Box
Zain Shaito earned his spot on the Lebanon Olympic team one day after his sister, Mona, earned her spot on the squad. He downed Thailand’s Nontapat Panchan in the final bout at the last-opportunity qualifying tournament in April in Wakayama City, Japan. Both Shaitos, residents of Texas with dual-citizenship in Lebanon, have spent time training with USA Fencing and are members of the Fencing Institute of Texas.
8. Louise Bond-Williams (2001-04), Great Britain, Fencing
Bond-Williams in action at women’s individual sabre Aug. 1 at Copper Box
Bond-Williams, a member of the Ohio State fencing team from 2001-04, will represent Great Britain in the women’s individual sabre Aug. 1. She graduated from Ohio State in 2005 with a degree in history. She was the fourth and final Buckeye to earn a spot in London.
9. Margarita Tschomakova (2009-12), Bulgaria, Fencing
Former Buckeye to compete in women’s individual sabre Aug. 1 at Copper Box
Tschomakova was the third OSU fencer to earn a trip to London and will don Bulgarian colors in women’s sabre. With dual-citizenship in Germany and Bulgaria, she secured one of four spots out of a group of 12 in April at the European Zonal in Bratislava, Slovakia. A senior on the 2012 NCAA champion team, Tschomakova graduated this past spring with a degree in international business.
10. Amanda Furrer (2010-Present), United States, Rifle
Furrer hits the range Aug. 4 in women’s three-position, 50m rifle at Royal Artillery Barracks
Furrer, a current member of the Ohio State rifle team, earned her selection to the U.S. Olympic Team after collecting a 196 in the kneeling position at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June in Ft. Benning, Ga. Furrer, who just concluded her third season with the Scarlet and Gray, has finished in the Top 10 nationally in smallbore rifle each season. (A fun fact – the Royal Artillery Barracks dates back to 1716).
11. Katie Bell (2007-11), United States, Diving
Bell will be the last Buckeye to compete at the Olympics Aug. 8 in the 10-meter women’s platform
A Columbus native, Bell sealed her spot on the U.S. Olympic Team following a second-place finish in the women’s 10-meter platform finals at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June in Federal Way, Wash. Bell finished with 1024.40 points and became the ninth Olympian under Ohio State diving coach Vince Panzano. She graduated from the College of Social Work in 2011.
12. Caitlin Stewart (2007-10), United States, Synchronized Swimming
Stewart is an alternate for the U.S. duet squad Aug. 5
A Huntington Beach, Calif., native, Stewart’s Buckeye career spanned from 2007-10. Stewart was a four-time All-American (2007-10) and won gold medals three consecutive years from 2008-10 in the team routine at the U.S. Collegiate Synchronized Swimming championships. Additionally, Stewart was instrumental in helping Ohio State win consecutive national titles in 2009 and 2010. She is returning to Ohio State this fall semester to finish her degree in psychology.
13. Head Coach Vince Panzano, United States, Diving
Panzano to coach in his fourth Olympics in London
Panzano, who has been at the helm of the OSU diving program for 33 years, has now sent nine divers to the Olympics. Overall, the Buckeyes have now had 42 divers make the Olympics. One of the most highly-respected diving coaches, Panzano has coached in three previous Olympics, including 1984 (Los Angeles), 1988 (Seoul) and 1996 (Atlanta).
14. Associate Head Coach Lou Rosselli, United States, Wrestling
Rosselli named volunteer coach of the U.S. Olympic Freestyle Team
Rosselli, one of five finalists for a 2008 U.S. Olympic freestyle volunteer coaching position, has been part of USA Wrestling for several years as a coach and athlete. Most notably, he is a three-time U.S. Freestyle World Team coach. A member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team (114.5 pounds), Rosselli was a 1997 World Cup and won the silver medal at the 1998 Pan American Championships. Rosselli concluded his sixth season on the Buckeye coaching staff in March. Hired by Ohio State head coach Tom Ryanso in the spring of 2006, Rosselli was promoted to associate head coach following the 2008-09 season.