One thing I have noticed about these Olympic Games is the plethora of North Carolina Tar Heels participating in Athens.
Sure, there isn’t Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, JR Reid, Mitch Kupchak, Walter Davis or Charlie Scott on the men’s basketball team. But, Larry Brown, head coach of the USA team, is a Tar Heel [‘63]. So is Roy Williams….who happens to also be the head coach of the Heels.
Two sports who have been predominate with UNC is women’s soccer and track. The most famous name is Mia Hamm [’94]. Hamm is the all-time scorer in women’s international soccer history. Alongside her is Cat Reddick [’04], Cindy Parlow [’00] and Kristine Lilly [’93]. Hamm, Lilly and Parlow have been National Players of the Year. Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly are on the current UNC team. The Lady Tar Heels have won 16 NCAA soccer championships in the 22 years it has been held.
As far as track goes….one men’s alum made it to Athens…..Allen Johnson [’93]. The women’s track team is filled with former Heels. By far, Marion Jones [’97] is the most decorated female track athlete right now. She is only performing in the long jump. Former Heels Latasha Colander [’98], Shalane Flanagan [‘04], Monique Hennigan [‘98], Blake Russell [‘97] and Tisha Waller [‘92] round out the team……while Laura Gerraughty and Crystal Cox are currently still at UNC. Colander anchored the 1600m relay in Sydney….where she won the gold. She will be competing in the 100m and 200m in Athens. Hennigan was also on that gold-medal relay team in Sydney. She will be in the 400m race. Flanagan will compete in the 5000m. Waller is in the high jump.
Oh, and that is just the Americans. There are four former or current Heels competing for other countries in these games. Nadine Faustin [’98] is competing in the 100m hurdles for her native Haiti. Vikas Gowda, a current Heel, is in the discus event representing India. Dominic Dmeritte [’99], of the Bahamas, is a sprinter and Natalie Anter [’02] plays for the Italian softball team.
So GO TEAM USA!!! And go Tar Heels!!!!!