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A Look at Penn Staters in Past Winter Olympics

Penn State had 19 Olympians in the 2012 London Olympics. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as it appears that there are no Nittany Lion athletes competing.

With that in mind, we decided to take a look back at past Penn State Winter Olympians as the Opening Ceremony is set to air tonight.

1. Allison Baver: The speed skater is one of Penn State’s most well-known Olympians. Baver earned her marketing and management degrees in 2003 from Penn State and was the 2010 Homecoming Grand Marshal.

She attended the Olympics three times — 2002 in Salt Lake City, 2006 in Torino, and most recently, 2010 in Vancouver. Baver attempted to make a fourth Olympic appearance this year but did not qualify. Her bronze medal-winning performance came in the 3000m relay at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The team originally placed fourth, but the first-place South Korean team was disqualified for an illegal skate click.

2. Kurt Oppelt: Although not a Penn State alumnus, Kurt Oppelt, who competed in two Olympics for Austria — 1952 in Oslo and 1956 in Cortina d’Ampezzo — was a skating instructor for Penn State from 1967 to 1976. In 1952, Oppelt competed in men’s singles and in pairs. Oppelt placed 11th in men’s singles, and along with Sissy Schwarz, the couple placed ninth in pairs. Four years later, in Cortina d’Ampezzo, the couple struck gold, beating the defending championship Canadian team for the top spot on the podium.

3. Edgar Seymour: The accomplished bobsledder, who graduated from Penn State in 1938, was in the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics. Seymour participated in the two-man bobsled, along with Arthur Tyler, as the duo’s brakeman. Unfortunately he injured his right leg in the team’s sixth place finish.

Other Penn Staters have been involved in previous Olympics, even if it they weren’t competing.

4. Dr. David Joyner: Our current athletic director was the chair of the Sports Medicine Committee for the United States Olympic Committee from 1993 to 2000. Joyner was also the Head Physician for the United States team in the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

5. Dr. Howard Knuttgen: The Penn State graduate earned his master’s degree at Penn State in 1953 and was a professor emeritus of Applied Physiology. He has worked for the International Olympic Committee since 1987 as the Coordinator of Special Publications for the Medical Commission. He is listed as part of the 1988 Calgary Olympics and the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

6. Richard Nelson: The professor emeritus of biomechanics and the founding director of the Biomechanics Laboratory at Penn State was on the IOC Medical Commission for the 1988 Calgary Olympics and the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

7. Sayers Miller: The athletic trainer and curriculum director at Penn State was an athletic trainer for the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.

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About the Author

Katie Blitz

I'm a freshman Public Relations major. I was born in Staten Island, but I prefer to say I'm from New York City. I went to Brooklyn Tech High School, a specialized high school, and I'm very proud of it. I'm a huge sports fan - mostly (and sadly) a New York Jets fan.


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