Thursday August 4, 2016

UD at the Olympics

The 2016 Olympic Games kick off tomorrow in Rio. With more than 200 countries participating in what many consider to be the most important test of athleticism, we decided to look at how the University of Dayton has contributed to the excellence of this international competition.

As a senior at UD in 2002, Christina Bayley was selected to carry the Olympic torch for the Salt Lake City games through a .02-mile leg in her hometown of Kettering. A Taekwondo instructor and fifth-degree black belt, Bayley has been involved with the Olympics as an athlete and coach.  She attended the 2000 summer games in Sydney as a delegate with the national taekwondo team and previously missed a turn in the Atlanta Olympics when the sport was pulled from the games. This did not stop Bayley from continuing her involvement in Olympic competition.  She has served as an Olympic National Team coach since 2005 and is Head Master instructor at her Taekwondo studio in Kettering, Ohio.

Another outstanding Dayton athlete, basketball player Mike Sylvester, medaled at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow while playing for Italy. Sylvester played for UD’s basketball team from 1971-74 and scored 36 points for UD in the 1974 NCAA tournament game against UCLA.  Of Italian descent, Sylvester was naturalized Italian in 1977, while playing professionally for Olimpia Milano. Unsure of whether he should participate in the summer games in Moscow since the United States boycotted the games that year, Sylvester contacted the State department to get their input.  Sylvester was given the go-ahead to play and took home a silver medal with the Italian national basketball team.

Chantae McMillan, another Olympic athlete with ties to UD, is currently a volunteer track coach for the Flyers. McMillan participated in the Heptathlon in the 2012 London Olympic games. This event consists of 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meters, long jump, javelin throw, and 800-meters.  While McMillan did not medal in 2012, she set personal bests in several events. McMillan went on to place fifth in the 2015 Pan American Combined Events Cup before joining the UD coaching staff.

Athletes need a tremendous amount of medical and training support to keep them in top notch condition.  Carol Siciliano, UD professor emeriti of health and sport science, was involved in both the Atlanta and Sydney games, volunteering with the medical team to provide massage therapy for athletes.  She was one of 120 massage therapists selected out of 2,100 applicants in Atlanta. For Siciliano, working with the athletes eight hours a day for four weeks was a learning experience and the “ultimate education”.

While the spotlight is always on the athletes during the games, it takes a multitude of people to plan and implement the smooth running of the entire production.  Terry Miller, ’77, UD Law school graduate, was appointed General Counsel for the London 2012 Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. Lawyers play an important role in contractual agreements that need to be drawn up for all of the contractors, partners, and suppliers.  Miller’s main priority focused on protecting intellectual property, such as symbols and emblems of the games. 

From competitors to coaches to legal counsel, University of Dayton boasts many ties to the Olympic Games. 

- Kristina S. Klepacz, Assistant University Archivist

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