August 11, 2021
We hope everyone will indulge us a bit since we waited to send our “July News Update” until now, so that we can put a North Carolina and World University Games focus on the Tokyo Olympic Games which came to a close on Sunday. It was certainly a memorable Games, not just because the Games were conducted so successfully despite the continuation of the worldwide pandemic. Instead, the incredible athlete performances, even after training during the last year under the most challenging conditions, stood out as reflecting the very best of what the Olympic Games represent. In this news update we have decided to focus on the 7 North Carollina-connected athletes who competed in the Tokyo Games and who are also World University Games alums.
Our highest-achieving North Carolina WUG alum at the Games of the 32nd Olympiad is current Duke Women’s Head Basketball Coach Kara Lawson, who served as Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s 3×3 Basketball Team, a new sport at this year’s Games. Kara coached the U.S. Women to an 8-1 overall record including a victory over the Russian Olympic Committee in the final game to bring home the Gold. Coach Lawson, who has had an illustrious career, including a WNBA Championship, was also a gold medalist in the World University Games. Kara was an athlete on the United States’ Women’s Basketball Team at the 2001 Games in Beijing, China, where she averaged 12 points per game and helped the U.S. finish atop the podium.
Paul is a native of Kenya who moved to the United States to attend college. He enrolled at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG) in 2011 where he competed in NCAA Division I Track & Field as a student athlete. During his time at UNCG Paul competed for Team Kenya at the 2013 Summer World University Games in Kazan, Russia, where he won the Silver Medal in the Men’s 5000 Meter Run. He became a U.S. citizen in 2014, the same year he graduated from UNCG. Since that time, Paul has continued his record as one of the top 5000-meter runners in the world, capturing a Silver Medal in the event in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and a Bronze Medal in this year’s Olympic event in Tokyo.
Ashley was a four-year letterman on Duke University’s Swimming & Diving Team (2007-2011), where she competed in longer distance freestyle events ranging from 200 to 1,650 yards. At Duke Twichell broke numerous school records in the distance events, and finished in 5th place in the mile swim at the NCAA Championships her senior year, earning All-American Honors. Twichell competed in Open Water Swimming in the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia, where she won the Gold Medal in the 10,000 Meter Swim. This summer in Tokyo, Twichell competed in her specialty, the 10k Open Water Swim, where she finished in 7th place.
Jordan Windle was born in Cambodia, adopted by Jerry Windle, and raised in Morrisville, NC, where his adoptive dad served on the Town Council. During various points in his career, he has trained with the Duke University Diving Team. Jordan enrolled at the University of Texas where he is currently a senior, an NCAA Champion in Platform Diving, and Big 12 Diver of the Year each of his four years at the university! While at UT, Jordan competed in 3 Meter Springboard Diving competition at the 2019 Summer World University Games in Naples, Italy, where he finished in 6th place. In Tokyo, Jordan became the first diver of Cambodian descent to participate in the Olympic Games. There Jordan competed in 10 Meter Platform Diving where he made the Finals and finished in 9th place.
NC State Swimmers
Three NC State University Swimmers, who are also WUG alums, competed in the Tokyo Olympic Games: Simonas Bilis, Andrea Podmanikova, and Kacper Stokowski. Simonas competed for Lithuania in the Men’s 100 Meter Freestyle. Andrea competed for Slovakia in both the Women’s 100 and 200 Meter Breaststrokes. Kacper competed for Poland in the 100 Meter Backstroke. Previously Simonas, an NCSU alum, competed in the 2013 World University Games in Kazan, Russia (50,100 & 200m Freestyles); Andrea, a senior at NCSU, competed in the 2019 World University Games in Naples, Italy (50,100 & 200m Breaststroke events); and Kacper, a current NCSU student athlete, also competed in the 2019 Naples World University Games (50 & 100 Meter Backstrokes, 200 Freestyle, and 4×100 Medley Relay). While none of these athletes made it to the finals in Tokyo, they continued the strong tradition of Olympic Swimming at NCSU that includes Gold Medal winners such as Duncan Goodhew, David Fox, Cullen Jones, and Ryan Held.
New Olympic Motto
You may have read that the International Olympic Committee, during its meetings in Tokyo, changed the Olympic Motto from Citius, Altius, Fortius (Swifter, Higher, Stronger) to Citius, Altius, Fortius – Communiter (Swifter, Higher, Stronger – Together). We really like this change as it reflects the truth of Olympics – that even great individual achievements require a team. The athletes profiled in this newsletter reflect the results of family, friends, coaches, trainers, sports organizations and more providing assistance and support along the way. We also like the newly expanded motto because it is a perfect fit for what it will take to prevail in the bid process to be selected to host the World University Games – many, many individuals and organizations will need to work together as a team to succeed.
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