UC Davis Home Page

News and Information

Media sources on the Summer Olympics (VIDEO)

July 18, 2012

Title IX and the Olympics

Video (1 min 38 sec)

Videography by Julia Ann Easley/UC Davis

UC Davis has the following media sources who can comment on aspects of the Summer Olympic Games, from judging biases and Olympic history to the Cultural Olympiad and Olympian psychology.

Politics in Olympic judging

Unlike swimming, where the stopwatch is the arbiter, some Olympic events are open to political bias, says UC Davis political science professor John Scott. The professor, who participated in a 2007 study of Olympic figure skating results spanning five decades, can also comment on judged summer Olympic sports. His figure skating research found a persistent and consistent "patriotic" bias among judges toward skaters from their own countries, both during the Cold War and afterward. Overall, Scott found that judges scored skaters from their own countries about five places better than did judges from other nations. Contact: John Scott, Political Science, (530) 752-0972, jtscott@ucdavis.edu

History of the Olympics

Marilyn Ramenofsky, a 1964 Olympic medalist and adjunct professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior, co-teaches a seminar course on the history of the Olympics. She was the silver medalist in the 400-meter freestyle swim at the 1964 Olympics, and set the world record in that event three times in 1964, including at the U.S. National Championships and Olympic Swimming Trials. Ramenofsky was named to the 1962, '63 and '64 AAU All-America Swim Teams. In April 2013, she will be inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Contact: Marilyn Ramenofsky, (530) 400-8945, mramenofs@ucdavis.edu.

The making of a woman weightlifter

UC Davis filmmaker Julie Wyman explores notions of power, strength, beauty and health in a new documentary, “STRONG!” that chronicles the journey and challenges of Cheryl Haworth, a 300-pound, 5-foot-9 weightlifter who won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics. Set to air on PBS' “Independent Lens” series on July 26, the day before the Olympic opening ceremonies, the film documents Haworth’s quest to be the strongest woman in the world. Haworth won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. She went on to break both Pan American and U.S. records by successfully lifting 354 pounds at the 2005 Pan American Games. Wyman is an associate professor who teaches documentary film making in the Cinema and Technocultural Studies Program. Read more at: http://itvs.org/films/strong. Contact: Julie Wyman, jfwyman@ucdavis.edu.

Music at the Olympics

Athletics take the main stage in the Olympics, but Olympic art competitions that included music, poetry and other arts were part of the Olympic games dating back more than 100 years. This year the Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival will hold a series of events. Shawyon Malek, a music major and concert master for the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, will play violin as part of the Aldeburgh World Orchestra on July 29 in Royal Albert Hall, London. The Aldeburgh World Orchestra is made up of young performers ages 18-28 from throughout the world. Malek will be representing his home country of Iran. The Cultural Olympiad started in June and runs through September: http://www.london2012.com/join-in/festival. For interviews with Malek, contact: Karen Nikos, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-6101, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu.

Poetry at the Olympics

Throughout London, poetry will complement the Olympic games. Events include the Poetry Olympics (http://poetryolympics.com/), the Winning Words Program and others. UC Davis poet, blogger and writing lecturer Andy Jones can comment on these events and the place of poetry at the Olympics. Originally trained as a poet and interpreter of poetry, Jones has taught classes at UC Davis on T.S. Eliot, the “Poetry of the Beat Generation,” and “Close Reading of Poetry.” He also teaches an advanced poetry writing workshop. Jones has commented on poetry for the BBC and other media outlets. Contact: Andy Jones, aojones@ucdavis.edu.

Track and field at the Olympics

Deanne Vochatzer coached women's track and field at UC Davis for more than 20 years and was head coach of the U.S. women's track and field team at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. She served as director of competition for the 2000 track and field Olympic trials in Sacramento and was inducted into the U.S. Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2002. Vochatzer and her husband, Jon, who was the men’s track and field coach at UC Davis, retired in 2010. Contact: Deanne Vochatzer, dmvochatzer@ucdavis.edu, cell (530) 979-1731.

Olympian psychology

Paul Salitsky, a UC Davis lecturer in exercise biology, studies the psychological aspects of sports and exercise. He is interested in how individuals, ranging from elite athletes to youth participants, can become motivated to focus and achieve their goals. He has consulted with teams, athletes, coaches and performers at all levels to help them enhance their sports performance. Salitsky is a certified consultant with the Association for the Advancement of Applied Sport Psychology and has been on the Sport Psychology Registry of the U.S. Olympic Committee since 2000 to provide sports psychology and performance enhancement services to Olympians and developmental teams. Contact: Paul Salitsky, Exercise Biology, (530) 752-3381, pbsalitsky@ucdavis.edu.

Biomechanics, movement performance, injury prevention

UC Davis biomechanics scientist David Hawkins studies the mechanisms that influence skeletal muscle performance and human movement. His work at the UC Davis Human Performance Laboratory aims to develop tools and training strategies that can assist people with musculoskeletal disorders, as well as prevent injury and maximize athletic performance. He can talk about the properties of bone, ligament, tendon, muscle and other biological tissues, including how they respond to exercise and disuse. He is currently testing a technology-based approach for creating customized exercise recommendations for individuals. Recent research has focused on muscle-tendon units and strategies to minimize anterior cruciate ligament injuries. Contact: David Hawkins, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, (530) 752-2748, dahawkins@ucdavis.edu

Nutrition and fitness

Nationally renowned nutrition and fitness authority Liz Applegate is a consultant to various U.S. Olympic athletes. She is currently working with track athletes from the U.S. and Sierra Leone. Applegate has published several books, including “Nutrition Basics for Better Health and Performance” (2011); “Bounce Your Body Beautiful”; “The Encyclopedia of Sports and Fitness Nutrition”; and “Eat Smart, Play Hard.” She has written more than 300 articles for national magazines and has been a nutrition columnist for Runner's World magazine for the past 26 years. Applegate is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and has also served on the board of directors for the American Council on Exercise. In addition to teaching one of the most popular classes on campus, she is director of sports nutrition for intercollegiate athletics at UC Davis. Contact: Liz Applegate, Nutrition, cell (530) 304-3933, office (530) 752-6682, eaapplegate@ucdavis.edu.

For information on UC Davis students competing in the Olympics call Michael Robles, UC Davis assistant athletic director, at 530-752-3680.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Media contact(s):

Return to the previous page