Meet Princeton’s Olympians
David Blatt ’81 | Basketball coach | Russia
Blatt, who played professionally in Israel after college, has become one of the most respected coaches in European basketball, leading several top professional teams including Italy’s Benetton Treviso and Turkey’s Efes Pilsen S.K. But his most notable victory came last September, when he coached the Russian national team to the European championship. In the final game, the Russians beat Spain, the tournament favorite and host, 60-59.
Steve Coppola ’06 | Rowing | United States
Coppola, a former high school basketball player from Buffalo, N.Y., is one of three rowers on the U.S. men’s eight who stand 6 feet 7 inches or taller, and the Americans are hoping the powerful, long-limbed competitors can improve on the team’s showings at the last two FISA World Championships (fourth place in 2007 and third in 2006). The U.S. won gold in the men’s eight at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Sandra Fong ’12 | Rifle | United States
Rifle may sound like a rural, Western sport, but Fong, a New York City native, is quick to point out that most of the U.S. team hails from the Northeast. Three-position rifle, Fong’s event in Beijing, involves taking 60 shots at a target 50 meters away (20 standing, 20 kneeling on one knee, and 20 from a prone position). To train, she lifts weights, works on cardiovascular fitness, and shoots every day to refine her technique and build muscle memory.
Doug Lennox ’09 | Swimming | Puerto Rico
Lennox swam the 200-yard butterfly in 1:42.80 at the NCAA Championships March 29, earning fourth place and All-America honors, and in Beijing, he is looking toward intermediate goals, like reaching his event semifinals (top 16 swimmers). This summer, Princeton coach Rob Orr helped Lennox to arrange training sessions with University of Tennessee coach John Trembley, renowned for his work with top sprint swimmers.
Caroline Lind ’06 | Rowing | United States
For Lind, four years at Princeton turned into six when she decided to stick around after graduation to train with the national team, and the results have been spectacular. After stroking the Princeton varsity eight to an NCAA title in 2006, she helped the U.S. win gold in the women’s eight at the FISA World Championships in 2006 and 2007. Living in Princeton also has given Lind a chance to remain close with her collegiate coach, Lori Dauphiny, whom she calls the “number-one influence” on her rowing career.
Sam Loch ’06 | Rowing | Australia
Loch stroked the Tigers’ heavyweight crew to an undefeated regular season and an Eastern championship in his senior year, but his most cited legacy in Princeton may be the “Bloch,” a Hoagie Haven sandwich named in his honor that combines chicken parmesan with bacon and eggs. The Daily Princetonian called it a “titanic sandwich [that] does not appear to be made for mere mortals.” Loch, an avid weightlifter, cites bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman as his sporting hero.
Diana Matheson ’08 | Soccer | Canada
Matheson has played in some of soccer’s most prominent events, including the NCAA Final Four and the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but this will be her first trip to the Olympics. She expects a bigger stage and more media — particularly at Canada’s Aug. 9 game against China in Tianjin. After the Olympics, Matheson will continue her soccer career as a professional player in Norway.
Andreanne Morin ’06 | Rowing | Canada
Morin was still a student when she rowed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens as the youngest member of the Canadian women’s eight. The boat did not reach the finals that year, but this year, with Olympic veterans making up half of the crew and six-time Olympian Lesley Thompson-Willie in the coxswain’s seat, Canada is aiming for the medal stand. The boat won an Olympic qualifying race in Poland last month.
Lia Pernell ’03 | Rowing | United States
After spending five years on the national team, Pernell has earned her first trip to the Olympics, but according to her bio from U.S. Rowing, the achievement was 24 years in the making. Pernell first became fascinated with the Olympics in 1984, when Los Angeles hosted the summer games and her family was living there. “I was 3,” she said, “but it was all I could think about from there on out.”
Paul Teti ’01 | Rowing | United States
Teti is one of two athletes on America’s 45-person rowing roster who will be competing in the Olympics for a third time. In Sydney and Athens, he competed with the U.S. men’s lightweight four. This time, he will be in the men’s four without coxswain. Olympic longevity seems to run in the family. Teti’s brother Mike, now a coach of the U.S. team, also competed on three Olympic teams.