CSUF News Service
CSUF Leads the Way in Olympic Research and Service
August 5, 2016
Two thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks began a sporting competition that would become the world’s largest cultural event and a celebration of human aspirations: the Olympics.
More than 11,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Amidst several controversies — a major doping scandal, concerns over the Zika virus and polluted waters, economic and political strife — the highly anticipated
Aug. 5-21 games open tonight, calling on international spectators to take pause and be inspired by the Parade of Nations and lighting of the cauldron at Maracanã Stadium.
This year’s Olympic theme, “live your passion,” is an idea that Cal State Fullerton faculty, staff and students have long embraced in their scholarly and professional activities, bringing Titan spirit and pride to the global stage.
Three CSUF faculty members have dedicated their summers to training Olympians for the mental rigor of the games. Professor Lenny Wiersma serves as a sport psychology consultant for USA Swimming, while associate professors Traci Statler and Andrea Becker serve as lead sport psychology consultant for USA Track and Field and sport psychology coach for USA Men’s Volleyball, respectively. Journeying with their teams to Rio, Statler and Becker will have front-row seats to the Olympic action.
At least four alumni also are participating in the Rio games. Three-time Olympics reporter Marc Stein ’91 (B.A. communications) is covering Team USA basketball as senior writer for ESPN, while Larnie Boquiren ’04 (B.S. kinesiology) and Jimmy Stitz '13 (M.S. kinesiology) use the skills they learned in CSUF’s athletic training program in their roles as head athletic trainer for USA Water Polo and strength and conditioning coach for USA women's Volleyball. Former Titan basketball player Josh Akognon ’09 (B.A. ethnic studies) represents the men’s squad of Team Nigeria Basketball, joining an impressive history of Titan Olympians that dates back to the 1960 games in Rome.
Additionally, three professors are making their mark as Olympic scholars. Associate professors John Gleaves, Matt Llewellyn and assistant professor Toby Rider serve as co-directors of CSUF’s Center for Sociocultural Sport and Olympic Research, one of only three such centers in the United States. The center, which will be featured in the summer/fall issue of Titan magazine, also supported a Greece Study Abroad program this summer that placed 26 kinesiology students in the heart of the Olympic birthplace.
Faculty member Alison Wrynn, a veteran historian in the field of kinesiology, continues to champion gender equity in the games and has co-authored three reports on this topic.
Collectively, these Olympic stories point to a University engaged in outstanding research, professional activity, commitment to bringing these lessons back to students, and ultimately Titans living their passion.