Archive for the 'dremiel byers' Category

Who Should Carry the Flag?

In one of the most moving parts of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, the countries’ entire Olympic delegations march in, each led by one of the members of the delegation, carrying their flag. The United States’ flag bearer is elected by the athletes themselves, so my recommendations mean nothing. That will not, however, stop me from making those suggestions.

– Dremiel Byers – More than a Greco-Roman wrestler, Byers is also a staff sergeant in the Army. I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to the U.S. than having one of our soldier carry in our flag.

– Eric Shanteau – The breaststroker is putting off surgery for cancer for the games-that shows a pretty single-minded focus on achieving the Olympic dream.

– Lisa Fernandez – The softball pitcher is a four-time Olympian, three time gold medalist, and is a leader for a team that will no longer be able to compete in the Olympics.

– Kate Barber – As captain of the field hockey team, she has played a part in the development of the U.S. as a power. Before this year, the team had not qualified for any Games not played in the U.S.

Try the Trials: Cycling, Judo, Wrestling

Similar to what happens during the Olympic Games, USA Judo and USA Wrestling will have their trials together in Las Vegas this weekend. Yours truly will be there so I will write reports for you, just before heading off to the Secret Garden of Siegfried and Roy.

Cycling: Eight participants were invited to compete in the BMX trials in Chula Vista, but only one can make it to Beijing. Steven Cisar, who took second at the World Championships, is the favorite, but he will be challenged by Donny Robinson and Mike Day.

Judo: Have you ever wanted to just throw somebody? Me too. The 112 athletes who are competing for ten spots on the judo team can really throw some people. Two world medalists are part of this group. Ronda Rousey at 70 kg, took second in 2007, and Brian Olson at 90 kg, a three-time Olympian, won bronze in 1997. He retired after the 2004 Olympics, but came out of retirement to try again for Olympic Gold.

Wrestling: Cael Sanderson, the only gold medalist in wrestling from the 2004 games, is firmly ensconced in his head coaching job at Iowa State.  In freestyle, he is replaced by hopefuls Ben Askren at 74kg, a two time national champion for University of Missouri, Mo Lawal, a World Team Member in 2006. Greco-Roman’s best include Dremiel Byers and Harry Lester, and Athens Olympians, Patricia Miranda and Sara McMann, are headlining women’s freestyle. For a more extensive preview, check out Chicks Heart Fights. The men’s freestyle preview is up now, and I will post Greco and women’s later this week.

Supporting Our Troops on the Field

Many of us remember hearing about the Soviet teams in the past who would be made up of soldiers, but they would never see a day of combat. The United States has a similar program in place, but not nearly as shady. With all apologies to Kellen Winslow, Jr., there are actual athletes who are soldiers, and you will most likely be cheering them on this summer. The World Class Athletic Program, run by the U.S. Army, prepares soldiers who show athletic promise to be Olympic contenders.

WCAP, open to all Army members in good standing, recognizes elite athletes, and gives them resources and support to continue their training while also continuing their military career. Only the best athletes are chosen for WCAP. They must be ranked highly in their sport, and be likely to qualify for the Olympics. Though the WCAP has training centers in wrestling, boxing, and modern pentathlon, athletes in many sports compete on behalf of the Army.

Major Steve Reich

Though these soldiers are exceptional athletes, they are soldiers first. WCAP baseball player Major Steve Reich was killed in Afghanistan when his special ops helicopter was shot down. Sgt. Iris Smith, a women’s wrestling World Champion in 2005, missed the 2001 World Championships because she was in basic training.

Dennis Bowsher and Dremiel Byers

Two soldier-athletes to watch for during the Beijing Olympics are Staff Sgt. Dremiel Byers, an Olympic hopeful in Greco Roman wrestling, and Spc. Dennis Bowsher in modern pentathlon. Byers, who will compete at the Olympic Trials this coming weekend, won a Bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships, and is a favorite to come home with hardware from Beijing. Bowsher is a two time national champion in the pentathlon, and took home the silver medal in the World Cup.