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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA presence connects Tucson to London Games

    The 30th iteration of the Summer Olympic Games begins July 27 in London. The games are a great addition to the end of summer, when sitting around watching nearly round-the-clock sports becomes a very attractive pastime for Tucsonans who can hardly be active in the stifling heat.

    If you want University of Arizona connections, look no further than track and field and swimming. The UA is sending three student-athletes and one alumnus to compete in track and field, and 11 former athletes in swimming. One current Wildcat is also playing for the Columbian women’s soccer team, and there are alumni in both basketball and cycling. These 18 current and former Arizona athletes will represent eight different countries.

    More intrigue of the Olympic Games can be found in the national storylines. The big story of the games this year is the battle for swimming supremacy between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. The American swimmers will be going head-to-head in two different events: the 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter individual medley.

    In basketball, the United States’ other premier sport, the rest of the world appears to be catching up. Spanish center Serge Ibaka recently told reporters that he believes his squad has the talent to match up with the U.S. and he just might be right. Spain boasts a frontcourt of NBA stars with Ibaka and brothers Pau and Marc Gasol that is on par with the American counterpart of Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and Tyson Chandler. Gone are the days of the Dream Team, where players from other countries are satisfied simply to share the court with the Americans. Basketball is an increasingly global game, and the U.S. team will need to play their best if they want to win gold.

    The best thing about the Olympics is that it’s really the only time athletes are truly representing their fans. Professional athletes are essentially hired guns, moving from city to city to chase money and championships. After all, the Phoenix Suns did just lose long-time favorite Steve Nash to Los Angeles, for a chance to win an NBA Championship with the Lakers.

    Collegiate sports are better, but not by much. We hear former University of Arizona student-athletes claim they are “Wildcats for Life,” but the reality is that many briefly stop here to hone their craft before moving on to greener pastures.

    — Tyler Johnson is a journalism senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions .

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