Gold-Medal Dreams

At the start of the summer, Moravian had three Olympic hopefuls—not bad for a college whose student body is about one-thirteenth the total number of participants in the 2004 Summer Games.

Alas and alack, two were bumped before Athens.

Bicyclist Ashley Kimmet ’05 hoped to qualify at one of the World Cycling Federation preliminary races, but she didn’t. She plans to continue racing on the international cycling circuit, but it’s an open question as to whether she’ll hang on for the 2008 games in Beijing.

Emily Shertzer ’02, who’s been training for the pentathlon at the USOC facility in San Antonio, Texas, since her graduation, placed well in pentathlon preliminaries, but not well enough. Pentathlon competitors must excel in five areas: horseback riding, running, swimming, shooting, and fencing. Emily is a prize-winning rider and an all-American in track and field. She knew how to swim and shoot. She felt as though she were playing catch-up only in fencing, which she admits she still doesn’t like much.

At the decisive preliminary round, Emily came in fifth. But only the top three contenders went to the games. In pentathlon competition, experience counts as much as or more than youthful vigor; many of Emily’s competitors were in their 40s and participating in their third Olympics. After the Athens games, she said, the top pentathlon competitors will probably retire. Emily, too, has been invited to keep training for 2008; again, it’s an open question.

In the meantime, she has been working on a master’s degree at the University of Texas in San Antonio.

That left Christina Scherwin ’05, who trained at and competed for Moravian but who threw the javelin for her native country, Denmark. She was out part of the summer with an injury and was allowed to qualify late. In Athens, she came in 29th in a field of 44 aspirants and threw more than 3 meters short of her personal best.

No matter. Christina said it was an amazing experience to compete with the best athletes in the world and to make it to 29th place in their company. She plans to continue in amateur competition after she graduates and to aim her javelin for the 2008 games in Beijing.

Christina is finishing her senior year this semester, though she had to start classes a little late. The Morning Call ran a feature on her with the headline, “Dear Prof, please excuse Christina while she’s in Athens.”

To share Christina’s Olympic experience, see /page0001.htm.

Christina Scherwin '05 took the photo above of the arrival of the torch at the stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Olympics. Below, Christina hugs two other members of the Danish team: bronze medalist in the shot put Joachim B. Olsen (wearing his medal, and hugging his girlfriend, Karen), and pole vaulter Piotr Buciarski.