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Better Know A Olympian III: The Search For Spock

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Part I

Part II

When I started this, 2 weeks ago, Cal had 39 Olympians.  Now, we have 45.  You'd think that was cause for celebration, but it just means MORE work for me!  STOP BEING SO GOOD AT PRODUCING OLYMPIANS, CAL!!!  Also, does anybody know anywhere of a website that ranks Olympians by school attended?  I really wanna know if 45 is the high point. 

To this mid-90s gamer (Final Fantasy 4 life!), the most confusing thing is when hated arch-rivals Mario and Sonic started working together for the Olympics.  Is Crash Bandicoot going to show up, too?????



Now, this first one here isn't a competing athlete, but, instead, a coach.

21. Laurel Korholz



Laurel Korholz
Country: USA
Event: Women's Rowing Assistant Coach
Hometown: La Jolla, Calif.
Years at Cal: 1990-93

An 11-time national team member and three-time Olympian, Korholz graduated from Cal with degrees in English and political science. Among the results in her last few years of competition, she won a gold medal in the eight at the 2004 BearingPoint World Cup stop in Lucerne, took gold in the eight at the 2004 BearingPoint World Cup stop in Munich and finished sixth in the quadruple sculls at the 2003 FISA World Championships. Korholz was a member of the Cal team that took second place in the 1993 Pac-10 championships. She joined the U.S. coaching staff in April of 2005 and assists U.S. women's head coach Tom Terhaar in the training, recruiting and organization of the U.S. women's national team.

Here is her Wikipedia page.

From her US Rowing Bio:

Personal: Laurel was an 11-time national team member and a three-time Olympian...Laurel began rowing at the age of 20 because she did not have the vertical leap to excel at volleyball...She graduated from Berkeley with degrees in English and political science...She enjoys reading, cooking, and writing...Laurel is married.

That is EXACTLY what I started blogging.  Didn't have a strong vertical leap.

Article on her being appointed as coach:

"This is an exciting opportunity for me to work with (women's head coach) Tom Terhaar and USRowing," Korholz said. "Hopefully, I can use my international experience in both sweep rowing and sculling to help build a strong overall program that can consistently challenge for medals at the world championships and Olympic Games. Our goal is to build on the success from Athens and add to our medal count in Beijing."

Korholz will assist Terhaar in the training, recruiting and organization of the U.S. Women's National Team. Her primary responsibilities include the selection and coaching of women's national team crews and camps as assigned by the head coach; assisting in the development program of female athletes; assisting in the development, implementation and budget management of the national training center camps; and assisting in the organization and implementation of domestic and international camps and competitions.

22. Gordan Kozulj



Gordan Kozulj
Country: Croatia
Event: Men's Swimming - Backstroke
Hometown: Zagreb, Croatia
Years at Cal: 1996-99

Kozulj will be competing in his fourth consecutive summer Olympics. At the 2004 Athens Olympics he barely missed making the finals of the 200 back, placing ninth in the semifinals. At the 2000 Olympics Kozulj placed eighth in the 200-meter back and 14th in the 100-meter back, and was a member of Croatia's 400 medley relay that placed 14th. He is a two-time European champion in the 200 backstroke and was named Croatia's Sportsman of the Year in 1999. At Cal, Kozulj earned All-America honors in 1998 and 1999, and was a member of the Bears' Pac-10 champion 400 medley relay (backstroke leg) in 1998, and was the conference champion in the 200 IM in 1999.


Here is his Wikipediaa page.  It is short, but notes his nickname is "Gordo"  I think in Spanish that means "Gord."





Here he is in his recurring role in Cirque De Soleil's underwater show, "The Matrix."



I cannot find too much recent material on this gentleman. 

23.  Jackie Lee!  Jackie Lee!  Jackie Lee!



Jackie Lee
Country: USA
Event: Table Tennis
Hometown: San Francisco, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2003-07


Lee became the U.S. Under-10 champion after entering the tournament as its lowest, unranked seed. She has since been the nation's top-ranked player in her age groups, including Under-16, Under-18 and Under-22. In addition to the Cal Table Tennis Club, Lee has trained with Oakland Table Tennis Club, San Diego Table Tennis Club and Angby Table Tennis Club in Sweden. Lee competed at 2004 Olympic Trials for one of two spots on the team and finished third. In January of 2008, she finished in the top four at U.S. trials in Philadelphia. At the North American Qualifiers in Vancouver, where she was the No. 7 seed, Lee won the finals of Day 3 to secure her spot as an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team. Lee travels to Beijing eligible for individual play as well as the new team event for table tennis.

In looking for Jackie Lee videos on YouTube, I ran across this unintentionally hilarious video:

Her Table Tennis Pioneers page.

Table tennis: Jackie has lived overseas in Sweden, playing the #1 spot for Angby SK in the elite division of the league. In Sweden, she practiced twice a day, every day, and played tournaments on the weekends. She has participated in multiple World Championships. She is currently coached by Sean O’Neill and Stellan Bengtsson.

Additional background: Jackie graduated from UC Berkeley with honors in architecture in just three years. She hopes to continue her education by obtaining a Masters degree in architecture within the next few years. She loves doing yoga, listening to music, playing the piano, baking for her friends, and drawing. Jackie’s full name is "Jacqueline Lee".

Much respect for the Architorture degree in 3 years! 




I just watched the ping pong The Office episode.  My favorite line is when Kelly is talking trash to Pam:  "So, were Jim's parents first cousins...who also sucked at ping pong?"  Or it might be when Pam lets it slip that, while Jim informed Dwight they were practicing ping pong so Jim could win a big client account, they were actually practicing so Jim could play with Daryl.  Dwight:  "But Daryl isn't a client.  He works downstairs."  It's tough to understand that one without Dwight's tone of confusion over having to convince Daryl to join as a client.  Anyways....

24.  Magdalena Lewy



Magdalena Lewy
Country: USA
Event: Track & Field - Marathon
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Years at Cal: 1995-97, Assistant Coach 2002-present

Lewy earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic team with a second-place finish in the marathon at the Olympic Trials in Boston April 20, crossing the line in a lifetime-best 2:30.19. She led from the start until the 24th mile before being overtaken by eventual winner Deena Kastor. While a runner at Cal, Lewy earned All-America honors with a third-place finish in the 5000-meter run at the 1997 NCAA championships with a career-best time of 16:04.86. On Cal's all-time performers list, she ranks second in the 5000m (16:04.86), third in the 3000m (9:25.93) and seventh in the 1500m (4:23.34). Lewy is in her seventh year as an assistant coach with the Cal track & field program. She is married to former Cal runner Richie Boulet, and they have a son, Owen

According to her bio, she's another Polish gal.  Yay for Polacks!

This is a video of a run down of Magdalena.  I like the dixieland music!

Cal bio

Here is an interview with her.  It is old, but it has information on her life story, which is interesting.

FW: In Poland, you were a swimmer, correct?
Yes. Throughout my childhood, I swam competitively, mostly the 'fly' and the IM. My parents never pushed me into athletics, mainly because they worked a lot. They were probably too busy to get me involved. I just showed up one day when I was, I don't know, 10 years old, and said, 'Mom, I'm on the swim team.' She was like, 'Okay, great.' It was a club team, not at school. I started swimming at five o'clock in the morning and five o'clock in the evening. I always enjoyed it. I never thought running was something I was better at until I discovered it on my own.

FW: Did you compete internationally as a swimmer?
When I lived in Poland, it was still a Communist country, so we didn't get to travel that much.

FW: What was the reason, and the process, for your coming to the West?
My dad left Poland for political reasons three years prior to the rest of the family. He just tried to find a better opportunity for the family to live. He was an electrician. He did not like the Communist way of living, and one way to end that was to leave everything behind and start a new life somewhere else. He went to West Germany and tried really hard to reunite the rest of the family, and it took about three years for the government to finally say, 'Okay, you can go and visit him.' We left in '89.

FW: And from Germany, how did you end up in Long Beach?
My mother's brother lived in Long Beach for 20 years prior to us. He emigrated when he was a lot younger. Going to the U.S. was a process we could apply for from Germany; from Poland, that was not possible at all.





She has a blog!

This year I am doing more mileage here then ever before. I just ran 150 miles this week and feeling the "good" tired. I brought 3 pairs of shoes with me here because each served a different purpose. The ProGrid Tangent, which I use every day for my 10 mile morning runs – I like the low to the ground feel, light with just enough cushioning. The ProGrid Ride, which I use on my afternoon runs to give my feet a little rest from the rocky footing by providing a marshmallow style cushioning. The Grid Fastwitch, which I use to do faster turnover work and treadmill workouts.

150 miles in 1 week.  Damn.  That's a lot! 

25. Martin Liivamagi



Martin Liivamagi
Country: Estonia
Event: Men's Swimming - 200 Individual Medley
Hometown: Tallinn, Estonia
Years at Cal: Incoming Freshman

Liivamagi is an incoming Cal freshman who reached the semifinals in the 200 individual medley at the 2007 World Championships, where he was timed in 2:02.39. He was also sixth in the 100 IM at the 2006 European Short-Course Championships. He finished 2007 ranked 26th in the world in the 200 IM and is a countryman of Cal's Martti Aljand.

I linked to his personal website up there.  I cannot understand it, though, because it is, I am guessing, in Estonian.  Or at least not in 1 of the two languages I am fluent in (English; Klingon).  Here are photos of him and video of him.  I can't figure out how to link direct. 

Estonian, eh?  I wonder if he loves the music of Arvo Part.  Here's Part's classic "Speigel Im Speigel"

26. John Mann



John Mann
Country: USA
Event: Men's Water Polo (alternate)
Hometown: Newport Beach, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2003-06

Former California water polo standout Mann, who helped power the Golden Bears to the 2006 national title, was named the winner of the 2006-07 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top male collegiate water polo player. One of the top players in school history, Mann led the Bears (31-4) to both the NCAA and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles in 2006. He was a three-time first-team All-America, 2006 first-team NCAA All-Tournament, 2006 MPSF Tournament MVP, 2006 All-MPSF first team and Cal's 2006-07 Pac-10 Medalist. During the 2006 season, Mann was the Bears' leading scorer with 80 goals in 33 matches and was instrumental in Cal's 6-5 win over USC in the MPSF Tournament final, and 7-6 victory over the Trojans in the NCAA title match. He finished his college career with 218 goals.

Here is a hilariously titled Daily Cal article, called "The Go To Mann"

Although he saw playing time as a true freshman, it took time and experience before he became the go-to player on the squad.

"I felt the coaches didn't quite trust me in tight situations," says Mann of his first year. "I started earning that trust later that year in games by proving myself."

Even now, he knows there is always room for improvement.

"Playing over the summer opened my eyes to what it takes to make the Olympics," says Mann. "I feel like I'm very close, but at the same time, I have a lot of work to do."

The water polo standout may have gone into football if it were up to his father, who played football at Purdue.

But with water polo being the popular sport to play in his hometown of Newport Beach, Calif., Mann joined Corona del Mar High's water polo team under John Vargas, the current head coach at No. 4 Stanford.

"I think my dad would've wanted me to play football, but I think he looks back at his football career-and he loved it-but it was real hard on his body," explains Mann. "He sees my ability at water polo, and he knows the wear and tear won't be as bad."

Official USA Water Polo bio:

Fun Facts:

Favorite Food: Steak
Favorite Movie:
Favorite Actor: Jack Nicholson
Favorite Actress: Jessica Biel
Favorite Songs: "Atomic Punk" by Van Halen, "I Believe" by Simian Mobile Disco
Personal Theme Song: "Atomic Punk" by Van Halen
Favorite Musical Artists: 2Pac, Jimi Hendrix, and Stevie Ray Vaughn
Favorite Color: Black and Blue
Best Present Ever Received: Surfboard at age 12
Best Halloween Costume: Ace Ventura
Special Power: To read minds

Favorite Quote: the poem "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley



27. Jorge Ivan Martinez Renteria



Jorge Ivan Martinez Renteria
Country: Mexico
Event: Track & Field - 100 meters (alternate)
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Years at Cal: 1997-99

Jorge qualified for his third Olympic team by running 10.13 in the 100 meters on June 27, 2008. He also competed in Sydney in 2000, but was unable to run in Athens in 2004 after sustaining a foot injury in the weeks leading up to the Games. His personal best in the 100 is 9.97 set in Costa Rica in July 2003. In addition to the Olympics, Jorge has gained international experience at the Pan American Games, Central American Games and World University Games. He attended Cal from 1997-99, competing in the long jump and as a walk-on on the men's basketball team for one season. He graduated from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City in 2001 and is currently working toward a degree from Cal in interdisciplinary studies. He is co-owner of Yuca Fitness and is a strength and conditioning training in Cal's Recreational Sports Facility.


Here is an article on berkeley summer camp that briefly mentions Mr. Renteria as helping out with kids summer camps.

He is a professional trainer.  Not much else here.  Good luck to Mr. Renteria!

28. Sayaka Matsumoto



Sayaka Matsumoto
Country: USA
Event: Judo
Years at Cal: 2002-05

A third-degree black belt, seven-time national champion (2000-05, 2007) and alternate at the 2000 Games, Matsumoto took gold at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trails and will compete in Beijing in the 48-kilogram weight category. Born in Japan and raised in the Bay Area, Matsumoto began studying judo at age 5. Since 2000, she has medaled at major judo competitions around the world, including the USA Judo Senior National Championships, Olympic Zone Cup, Finnish Open, U.S. Open, Pan American Championships, Junior World Championships, Collegiate National Championships and National High School Championships

NBC Bio.

Always a champion, finally an Olympian
Matsumoto's first American title was in 2000 when she was merely 17 years old, yet in the eight years since, she had never qualified for an Olympic Games, missing out at both Sydney and Athens. In 2004, the seven-time national champion took off three semesters of study from Berkeley to concentrate on qualifying for the Games, and won Olympic Trials, but the Americans had failed to qualify the weight class. She calls 2004 the low point in her life, but she also says it inspired her to train harder. Matsumoto has since graduated from Berkeley with a degree in mass communications, and is now, at last, an Olympian. When her career is over, she says she'd like to be a sports writer.

Dad and coach
When she was 5, Matsumoto's father David told her it was time for her to take up the sport. She remembers fighting boys from the age of 6 at her father's dojo, and as she improved, she began to beat them. As she got older and more involved in competitive judo, sometimes the lines crossed, she said, of her father's dual roles as coach and dad. "My dad was hard on me at home and on the mat but I know that its because he really cared about me... He instilled in me the principles and philosophy of judo. The virtues of not giving up, and holding yourself up with dignity." Matsumoto also has her bloodline to thank for her athletic ability; her grandfather was a Golden Gloves boxer in Hawaii.


Here she is taking somebody down to the mat:



  NBC Interview.

You took three semesters off to try and make the Athens team, but the U.S. didn't qualify your weight class for the 2004 Games. Talk about that time in your life.
I was competing and training while I was going to school, the traveling was insane, it was too hard to miss even a week of training. Schoolwork was too much. I took a leave of absence and focused on my training.

Prior to Athens, we went to Worlds in 2003 in Osaka, and then Pan Am Games in the Dominican Republic. I knew I had to do really well at the Pan Am Games in Santa Domingo and I didn't do very well and I got seventh. I lost a match to get into the bronze medal match and it came down to golden score and I lost. That was a low point for me in my life. Because I knew then that I probably wasn't going to qualify my division for Athens.

I had taken three semesters off and I tried to make the team and my dad was paying for my rent and I wasn't working. I was just devoting myself to training and traveling and he was spending all of his money on sending me to all these places and then I didn't do it.

Did you take time off after that disappointment?
I fought 52kg (one weight class above her normal class) at nationals for fun, and won at that weight class, but that was bittersweet for me, because it didn't really mean anything, didn't mean I was going to the Olympics. I wallowed in my self-pity for probably like a month, but I was still training. And then I was like, you need to focus on Beijing. So I picked myself up and kept training. And there was no break. If there was a break, maybe there was a week off. I can't remember ever taking a month off from judo, since 2000.

NBC Blog.  She essentially lists Britney Spears as one of her pet peeves:

c) People who drive while simultaneously doing one of the following: fixing their makeup, brushing their teeth, reading, doing crossword puzzles, driving with their dog (or baby) on their lap. And yes, I have witnessed all of the above (except for the baby on lap; we all know who that was). The one that really gets to me is the crossword puzzle lady that I saw driving on I-80 during rush hour traffic. She had a newspaper in one hand, a pen in the other, and was somehow steering. Keyword, somehow.


And on that note, let's wrap this up.  Since they added like 6 more Olympians, instead of doing 2 sets of 12 or so, I'll do 3 sets.  So, keep an eye out for Part IV soon!