July 17, 2012
By Jon Cooper
The eyes of the world will be on London beginning July 27th when the torch is lit to start of the Games of the XXX Olympiad.
Over the ensuing two-plus weeks, four current or former Yellow Jackets will test their skills in pursuit of gold.
Sting Daily takes a look at Georgia Tech’s quintet of Olympic athletes.
While much of the world is paying attention to the “Dream Team,” Alade Aminu will be battling on the hardwood for the Nigerian national team. Aminu, an Atlanta native whose dad is of Nigerian descent, played up front for the Yellow Jackets, averaging 6.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in his years at Georgia Tech, with career-bests of 11.8 and 8.0 as a senior, and is sixth on the career blocks list (105). Aminu was a key contributor coming off the bench for Nigeria, which stunned Greece, the European champion, then upended the Dominican Republic to earn a ticket to London. Aminu will be the third Yellow Jacket men’s basketball player to play in the Olympics and the first to not play for the United States — Stephon Marbury played for the USA at the Athens game in 2004 and Chris Bosh played in 2008 in Beijing. Bosh was supposed to play with the U.S. but had to withdraw due to injury. Nigeria will be in Group A, with Argentina, France, Tunisia, the United States and Lithuania.
Swimming – 100 Freestyle
Andrew Chetcuti will put his talents to the test for his native country of Malta in the 50- and 100-meter freestyle (he also may appear in a couple of relays). The 19-year-old didn’t really focus on swimming until age 12, but has already re-written the swimming record books, having set seven national records in the 50-, 100-, and 200-meter freestyle, the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays and the 200-, and 400-meter medley relays. At the Small States of Europe Swimming Championships he set records in the 50- (23:60) and 100-meter freestyle (51.85). Chetcuti will be the fourth Yellow Jacket to swim for Olympic gold. Vesna Stojanovska (Macedonia, 2004), Gal Nevo (Israel, ’08) and Onur Uras (Turkey, ’04 and ’08) came before him.
Chaunté Lowe looks to continue her remarkable re-birth by scoring Olympic gold in the high jump. The 28-year-old, who is married to former USA triple jumper Mario Lowe, is the current world outdoor champion and is the American indoor and outdoor champion (she is a five-time USA outdoor champion). But perhaps most remarkable about Lowe’s third Olympic appearance — she also appeared in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008– is that she gave birth to her second child, daughter, Aurora, in April 2011. Lowe, who graduated from Tech with a degree in economics and finance, finished sixth in the ’08 Beijing Games. It was a triumphant return after taking 2007 off, following the birth of her and Mario’s first child, daughter, Jasmine.
400 Meter Hurdles, 400 Meters
Angelo Taylor has been one of the elite athletes in the world for more than a decade and will compete in his fourth Olympics. Taylor will try to defend his Olympic championship in the 400-meter hurdles (he also won gold in 2000). The Albany, Ga., native is a three-time world champion in the 4×400 relay. The 33-year-old won his first Olympic gold medal at age 20, at the 2000 games, and could make history with a gold medal, as he’d be the first American to win three golds in the 400-meter hurdles (passing Edwin Moses, who won Olympic gold in 1976 and ’84 and Glenn Davis, who took home gold in 1956 and ’60). Taylor was an All-American in the 400-meters in 1997 and ’98. A two-time ACC Champion in the 400- and 400-meter hurdles, he led Tech to four straight 4×400 relays.