We asked the 649 U.S. Olympians* all about themselves, and they
gave us the answers. Here are their vital stats, their favorite
films, their secret tattoos and much, much more...in eight pages
of fabulous factoids
*94% (609 of 649) responded to our questionnaire although some did not answer all the questions.
Here are a few quirky things you probably don't know about the athletes in all 31 Olympic events:
Judi Adams qualified for one previous Olympic team, the 1980
squad that had to boycott the Moscow Games.
Two team members, Linda French and Erika Von Heiland, are
devoted fans of The Young and the Restless.
Eighteen list a ballplayer (Mickey Mantle and Nolan Ryan are
tops) as their favorite athlete or preferred dinner companion.
There is only one Republican among the women; the Dream Team
doesn't talk politics.
The women aren't always in the sun--all six have college
degrees, and Nancy Reno has pursued a Ph.D. in biology.
Featherweight Floyd (Pretty Boy) Mayweather's assessment of Gone
with the Wind: "That ain't for the brothas."
If Scott Shipley weren't busy as a slalom kayaker, he would want
to be "the guy at the fair who runs the rides."
Though Lance Armstrong is a "moderate Republican," the hard-core
Texan would most like to have dined with LBJ.
Platform divers Mary Ellen Clark and Patrick Jeffrey list
four-time gold medalist Greg Louganis as their favorite athlete.
Leslie Burr-Howard and Anne Kursinski endorse harnesses, riding
attire, feeds and horse-care products.
James Carpenter (epee), who smokes and weighs 230, admires Babe
Ruth as "another fat guy who did real good."
For luck, Kris Fillat rubs the Coca-Cola tattoo on her left
ankle; she has collected Coke antiques since age 12.
Rhythmics think young: Kate Nelson likes The Little Engine That
Could and Challen Sievers flips for Mary Poppins.
Ten women played college hoops; center back Joseph Fitzgerald
was on a Div. III national champion football team at Ithaca.
Hillary Wolf's favorite flick is The Shawshank Redemption, even
though she appeared in Home Alone.
Mike Gostigian has only one superstition: He sleeps with his
head pointing north. Apparently, he never gets lost.
Juli Furtado has had six knee operations, and Don Myrah has
broken his collarbone three times.
In 1896 sculler Cecile Tucker's great granddad Sumner Paine won
a gold in free pistol and a silver in military revolver.
Eight of 16 male team members and six of nine females wear
either glasses or contacts. Should that concern us?
If the team wins gold, goalie Briana Scurry won't be off to
Disneyland--she'll be off to "run naked through Athens, Georgia."
Team has 18 pierced body parts and 15 tattoos, including a ball
and two bats on Danielle Tyler's hip.
Breaststroker Eric Wunderlich, 26, smoked cigarettes until he
was 24 and chewed tobacco until last year; he now does neither.
Eight athletes list ex-Olympians as favorite jock: Dan Jansen,
Mary Lou Retton, Eric Liddell, Michael Jordan get votes.
Although Wei Wang is Beijing-born, she lists Mark Twain and
Tennessee Williams as her favorite writers.
Gigi Fernandez admires the Pope, and Andre Agassi wants to dine
with Jesus. Too bad mixed doubles isn't an Olympic event.
TRACK AND FIELD
After the Games, race walker Curt Clausen, who is adopted, will
resume his search for his biological parents.
Setter Lloy Ball, hitter Bob Ctvrtlik and blockers Bryan Ivie
and Tom Sorensen smoke cigars on special occasions.
Favorite books range from Camus's The Stranger (Gavin Arroyo) to
Seuss's The Cat in the Hat (Chris Duplanty).
Florida-born Bryan Jacob is a Cajun at heart--he digs Harry
Connick Jr. and wants to dine with Paul Prudhomme.
Melvin Douglas and Townsend Saunders work for Home Depot; Bruce
Baumgartner has a degree in industrial arts.
Somehow, boats stay afloat despite ballast of Hal Haenel (250
lb.), Mark Reynolds (205) and William Martin (220).
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [Drawing of Olympic athlete labeled with icon symbols illustrating statistical and polled data on age, astrological sign, place of birth, marital status, ethnic origin, gender, height and weight, pets, occupations, vision, hearing, tattoos, body piercing, sponsors, and previous medals of U.S. Olympic team]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Many Were Born in the USA... ...But Some Were Not All 649 athletes are shown in the state (or country, below right) where they were born. [Map of United States]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--diagram of male and female figures color-coded to identify outdoor, indoor and water events organized in groups by state of origin]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--map of world with color-coded figures and lines drawn to indicate athletes' countries of origin]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Mind Games Be Lucky! Of stuffed frogs and Duke grads: Olympic superstitions [Drawing of frog]
THREE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--drawing of scorpion, lion and word "DUKE" with diagonal lines drawn across]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--drawing of figure in bed with speech bubble containing drawing of rabbit]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--drawing of human figure standing under ladder]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Be Smart! Of dissecting frogs and Ivy grads: Olympic brains [Mortarboard on brain labeled with disciplines of graduate and undergraduate study]
COLOR CHART: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--chart not available--chart using boat and color-coded mortarboards to represent number and type of degrees obtained or pursued at various universities by members of U.S. olympic rowing team]
COLOR PHOTO: DAN HELMS Rower Karen Kraft (below) is the only person on the U.S. Olympic team who is also a member of Mensa
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Body Language The decorated athlete [Drawing of Olympic athlete labeled with icon symbols representing various tattoos and body piercings]
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND (2) Many marks: Not all the tattoos shown here are Kim Maher's (softball), but hse does have an impressive list: two on the back of her shoulder (left), three on her ankle (below) and one on her "behind," as well as earrings and nipple rings [Tattoos on Kim Maher's back]
COLOR PHOTO: JIM GUND (2) Kim Maher's ankle COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES The scalpel, please Where the athletes have been surgically cut--not pierced at the mall--for sports-related injury Patty Shea (field hockey) has had 13 operations on her right knee. Mary Slaney (track and field) has had 19 operations, not included above. [Drawing of human figure with markers indicating number of sports-related operations performed for each body part]
COLOR PHOTO: DAN HELMS Diver Jenny Keim's pets: cats, dogs, fish, parakeet, turtles [Jenny Keim diving]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--drawing of dogs, cats and fishbowl]
COLOR CHART: NIGEL HOLMES The team's oldest 4-legged animal actually competing in the Olymmpics Udon (dressage) 18 ridden by Steffen Peters [Chart not available--line graph depicting age in human years of horse Udon and rider Steffen Peters]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Peter Cox Jr. (fencing) has a ferret and he used to have a cockatiel, until the ferret ate it. [Drawing of ferret and dead bird]
COLOR CHART: NIGEL HOLMES The Truth About Olympic Cats and Dogs [Chart not available--diagram using icon symbols to indicate number and type of pets owned by U.S. Olympic athletes]
THREE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: NIGEL HOLMES Swimmer Brooke Bennett's pets: horse, donkey, potbellied pig [Drawings of horse, donkey and potbellied pig]
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER [See caption above--Brooke Bennett swimming]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES Dinner and a Movie? Favorite dinner guests: With whom would the U.S. team most like to break bread? The winner was Jesus Christ, who got 38 votes. (We trust that he won't mind that the fare will not be vegeterian.) 1 Jesus 2 Grandparents 3 Michael Jordan 4 John F. Kennedy 5 Martin Luther King Jr. 6 Winston Churchill 7 Albert Einstein 8 Bill Clinton 9=Dennis Rodman Abraham Linclon [Drawing of dinner table with Bible, popcorn, cigarette and ashtray]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: GIRAUDON/ART RESOURCE [See caption above--Painting of Jesus Christ]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [See caption above--Drawing of generic grandparents]
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [See caption above--Michael Jordan]
B/W PHOTO: ARCHIVE PHOTOS/AMERICAN STOCK (2) [See caption above--John F. Kennedy]
B/W PHOTO: ARCHIVE PHOTOS/AMERICAN STOCK (2) [See caption above--Martin Luther King Jr.]
B/W PHOTO: AP [See caption above--Winston Churchill]
COLOR ILLUSTRATION: NIGEL HOLMES [Drawing of Albert Einstein]
COLOR PHOTO: DIRCK HALSTEAD [Bill Clinton]
COLOR PHOTO: JOHN MCDONOUGH [Dennis Rodman]
B/W PHOTO: BETTMANN [Abraham Lincoln]
COLOR PHOTO: THE STOCK MARKET Soccer player Cindy Parlow wants to dine with God and Harrison Ford. In that order. [Clouds and sky]
COLOR PHOTO: THE IMAGE BANK [Steak on plate]
"The morning of every competition I kiss a beanbag frog my
sister gave me."
--Jessica Davis (gymnast)
"I carry a stuffed frog to all competitions."
--Todd Sweeris (table tennis)
"I never date Scorpios, Leos or graduates of Duke."
--John Keller (handball)
"On the first day of every month my first word has to be
--Jamie Koven (rowing)
"I was born on Friday the 13th, so all negative superstitions are positive for me."
--Jean Foster (shooting)
--Gary Hall Jr. (swimming), who will graduate from Arizona State with a degree in "chicks"
"Beef is king."
--Tripp Schwenk (swimming)