While Happy Valley has been gearing up for the start of fall sports, especially football, multiple of our athletic alums were gearing up for the biggest competition of their lives – the 2016 Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Penn State is tied with UC Berkeley for having the second highest number of Olympians headed to the 2016 Olympics, with Stanford taking the number one spot. Both Penn State and Berkeley boasted 14 alums heading to this year’s Olympics.
Actually, we did more than just send 14 athletes to the Olympics. We also won some medals.
A fact that not many Penn Staters know is that Penn State has an incredible fencing program. With multiple national titles, few were surprised to hear that not one, but two Penn Staters took home medals for fencing at this year’s Olympics.
Miles Chamley-Watson captured a bronze medal in the men’s team foil competition on August 12, beating Italy 45-31. This was the first time in nearly a century that Team USA has received a medal for team foil competition.
Chamley-Watson attended and competed for Penn State from 2008-2012, helping his team win the NCAA Team National Championship for 2008-09.
Fellow fencer Monica Aksamit also made Penn State proud by winning bronze in the women’s team saber competition on August 13.
Hailing from New Jersey, Aksamit was an All-American athlete who helped Penn State achieve two National Championships.
Aksamit and Team USA beat out Ukraine 45-30 for the bronze medal.
Although few Penn State students can say they watched a shot-put event while attending school, the name everyone now knows is Joe Kovacs, a former Penn Stater who won silver last week in the Olympics with a throw of 21.78m.
Finally, as of late, women’s volleyball players Christa Dietzen and Alisha Glass have claimed bronze in Rio. Both women are former Penn State players and were able to represent Team USA this year.
This is Dietzen’s second medal and Glass’ first time at the Olympics. Team USA women’s volleyball beat out the Netherlands for the bronze medal. The medals won by Dietzen and Glass mark the third and fourth medals won by Penn Staters at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
We wish all Penn Staters that competed a big congratulations!