Making Beijing Memories

SMU athletes and coaches describe the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as an opportunity to compete against the best athletes in the world. Sara Nordenstam (’06), representing her home nation of Norway, took the bronze in the women’s 200m breaststroke. Laura Reback Bennett (’97), competing for the USA, finished fourth in the women’s triathlon. Nastia Liukin, who briefly attended SMU in 2007 before training for the Olympics, won gold in the women’s gymnastics all-around competition and silver in the team competition, silver medals in the uneven bars and the balance beam events, as well as a bronze in floor exercise.

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Rodney Harmon celebrates with men’s doubles bronze medalists Mike and Bob Bryan.

“[The Olympics] is the top of the mountain, it doesn’t get any better” says men’s swimming coach Eddie Sinnott, who traveled to Beijing as one of three assistant team managers of the U.S. men’s Olympic swimming team. Other Mustang coaches included women’s head coach Steve Collins, who led the Slovakian national team, and former tennis player Rodney Harmon (’83), who was head coach of the U.S. men’s tennis team. Mustang swimmer Rania Elwani (’99) of Egypt served as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s Athletic Commission.

The following SMU alumni and student-athletes, including some former Olympians and medalists, competed for their nations: Swimming – Camilo Becerra (’05), Colombia; Anja Carman (’08), Slovenia; Lars Frolander (’98), Sweden; Petra Klosova, senior, Czech Republic; Martina Moravcová (’98), Slovakia; Sara Nordenstam (’06), Norway; Flavia Rigamonti (’06), Switzerland; Angela San Juan Cisneros (’08), Spain; and Denisa Smolenova, first-year, Slovakia. Track and field – Libor Charfreitag (’00), Slovakia; Florence Ezeh (’00), Togo; Michael Robertson (attended 2003-04), USA; and Aleksander Tammert (’96), Estonia.

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