June 29, 2012
Elon has a long-standing connection with the Olympics, going back to 1980. However, not all of the connections have been related to sporting events. We have highlighted below all of the documented connections Elon has had with the Olympics through the years. 1980 Winter Olympic Games: Lake Placid, New York
Joey Rickman ’81 participated in the winter games not as an athlete, but as a musician. He played soprano bugle with the 27th Lancers. The Lancers were a 128 member drum and bugle corps from Revere, Massachusetts that played during the opening ceremonies on February 12, 1980. The music they played included excerpts from Folk Song Suite, Open Wide, and Danny Boy. Joey was at the Olympic games for five days and remembers this, “It was nice and cold in Lake Placid–freezing would be a better word for it.” (The Pendulum, February 28, 1980, pg. 1)
1996 Summer Olympic Games: Atlanta, Georgia
Tom Erdmann, Professor of Music, Joe Akers ’95, and Megan Jones ’95 participated in the 1996 summer games as musicians. They were part of an Alamance County based music group called Company Shops Concert Band. Their band played in a series of concerts that were held in five of Atlanta’s public parks as part of the Olympic festivities going on in the city. They performed a number of 20-45 minute pieces including marches, serious concert literature, and patriotic songs.
1998 Winter Olympic Games: Nagano, Japan
Patrick Singleton ’97 represented his country Bermuda in the luge competition during the 1998 winter games in Japan, becoming the first Elon alum to compete in the Olympics. He trained for the Olympics in Canada, France and Germany, and had a Romanian coach. He qualified for the final races, with a speed clocked at around 80 miles per hour. Singleton also starred in an IBM commercial that aired during the opening ceremonies. Prior to his participation in the 1998 games, he won two bronze medals at the Olympic track in Albertville, France.
2002 Winter Olympic Games: Salt Lake City, Utah
Patrick Singleton ’97 competed in his second Olympic games in 2002. During these games he carried the Bermuda flag during the opening ceremonies. Additionally, he finished 37th in the men’s singles luge competition.
Stephanie Clark ’98 participated in the games as an assistant venue manager in event services and was stationed at Soldier Hollow Park (the site of cross-country skiing, biathlon, and the Nordic combined events). Event services involved overseeing security checks, crowd control, and spectator seating. Most of her days started at 4 a.m., and she organized more than 380 volunteers and staff members who assisted in various capacities. During her time in Salt Lake City she went skiing for the first time, in addition to spending her first Christmas away from family.
2006 Winter Olympic Games: Torino, Italy
Competing in his third Olympic games, Patrick Singleton ’97 represented his native Bermuda in the men’s skeleton competition. He finished 19th out of the 27 competitors in the race. This was his first time competing in this event, in which athletes race down an icy track on their stomachs rather than their backs as in the luge competition.
2008 Summer Olympic Games: Beijing, China
Elon’s most recent Olympic athlete story focuses on Blake Russell G ’01 (Physical Therapy), who competed in the women’s marathon as part of the USA women’s team in the 2008 summer games, becoming the second Elon alum to compete in the Olympics.
Tag Gray, ARAMARK chef, was involved in the summer games serving as a sous chef with the catering department for the Olympics. He was one of more than 200 ARAMARK managers to be selected to participate in the Olympics as a chef. During his time in China, he worked closely with around 2,000 cooks from China, following and creating a number of authentic Japanese and Chinese food recipes.