Olympic Games Open With 11 former Monarchs
Aug. 7, 2008
NORFOLK, Va. - The 2008 Olympic Games open Friday with 11 Old Dominion University alums who will represent the United States of America, Israel and Mali at the Summer games in Beijing, China. Four sailors, four women's field hockey players and the head coach of the USA Women's Basketball team are all Monarch alumni representing the USA at the Games. Joining those nine alumni is Hamchétou Maiga-Ba ('02-Bamako, Mali), former Lady Monarch women's basketball star, representing her nation of Mali, and former women's tennis standout Tzipi Obziler who will be playing for Israel.
The 2005 and 2007 ROLEX Yachtswoman of the Year Sally Barkow ('02-Nashotah, Wisconsin) will sail with Debbie Capozzi ('03-Bayport, N.Y.) in the Yngling races scheduled to begin on August 9 with the medal race set for August 16. Anna Tunnicliffe ('05-Plantation, Fla.) was a three-time All-American and national champion and will sail in the women's laser radial event for the United States, ranked #1 in the world as she enters her first appearance at the Olympics. Tunnicliffe's event begins August 12 with the medal race set for August 19. Finally, 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Ogletree will return to the Olympics for a fourth consecutive time, with his sights set on gold. He and long-time teammate John Lovell will sail the Tornado class for the US Team with racing set to begin August 15 and the medal race set for August 21.
Maiga-Ba is ODU's 14th all-time scorer with 1,483 points and was the 2001 CAA Player of the Year. She led the Lady Monarchs to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2002 and was selected in the first round of the WNBA draft by the Sacramento Monarchs. She teamed with Ticha Penicheiro to help Sacramento win the 2005 WNBA crown. The 6-1 guard is in her second season with the Houston Comets where she is averaging 8.1 ppg and 3.3 rebounds per game with 20 starts in 24 games. Anne Donovan ('83-Ridgewood, N.J.), a former All-American at ODU and Naismith Player of the Year, is the USA Women's Basketball head coach. The preliminary rounds begin August 9 with the medal games and ceremony scheduled for August 23. Donovan is a three-time member of the US Olympic team as a player, winning gold in 1984 and 1988.
The US Field Hockey squad will boast four former Lady Monarchs. Tiffany Snow ('03-Escondido, Calif.), Caroline Nichols ('06-Virginia Beach, Va.), Dana Sensenig ('06-Denver, Pa.) and Angie Loy ('05-Loysville, Va.) will represent the country as former members of Beth Anders' squads. Snow was a CAA Player of the Year and the 2002 Honda Award winner as the national field hockey player of the year. Nichols and Loy were also CAA Players of the Year at ODU. The preliminary rounds begin on August 10 with the medal matches set for August 22. Game one on Sunday, Aug. 10 against Argentina will be televised by MSNBC.
Obziler is currently ranked 116th in the world by the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). In the fall of 1995 she was ranked the No. 1 collegiate women's tennis player in the nation. The 35-year old has played in all three Grand Slam events this season, most recently at Wimbledon. The Olympic Tennis events will be played from Aug. 10 through Aug. 17.
Former Monarch sailing coach Gary Bodie, head coach from the inception of the ODU program in 1981 to 1985, returns to the helm of the US Olympic Team as the High Performance Director.