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One gold, one silver

Two of three Olympians with Dartmouth ties bring medals home

With the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece completed, two Dartmouth graduates have continued Dartmouth's long tradition of Olympic excellence, winning or sharing in medals - one of them for a second time - and a current undergraduate has had the experience of being an Olympic competitor.

Kristin Luckenbill
Gold Medalist Kristin Luckenbill '01 (photo courtesy of Sports Publicity)
Kristin Luckenbill '01 shares in U.S. women's soccer team's gold medal

Luckenbill, who played professionally with the Carolina Courage of the Women's United Soccer Association before the WUSA folded last year, was one of two goalkeepers for the U.S. women's soccer team that won the gold medal Aug. 26 with a 2-1 overtime victory against Brazil. While Luckenbill did not get playing time in the Olympics, she was the first Ivy League graduate to be a member of the squad, and the first Dartmouth graduate to win a spot on any Olympic soccer team.

At Dartmouth, Luckenbill was a three-time All-American and four-time All-Ivy selection, and started 70 consecutive matches. She was chosen the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 1997 and Ivy League Player of the Year in 1998, and was voted as a sophomore into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) First Team All-American, First Team All-New England, and First-Team All-Ivy. With 29 shutouts, she holds the Dartmouth career record.

Following graduation, Luckenbill played for three seasons for the Courage. She was named the 2002 WUSA Goalkeeper of the Year as well as 2002 First-Team All-WUSA.

Kristin Luckenbill
Adam Nelson '97 won a second consecutive silver medal. (photo courtesy of Sports Publicity)
Adam Nelson '97 collects his second silver medal in shot put

Nelson captured his second consecutive Olympic silver medal Aug. 18, taking second place in the shot put. Nelson's best throw of 21.16 meters tied the best throw of winner Yuriy Bilonog of Ukraine, but Bilonog was awarded the gold medal by virtue of having a second-best throw in the competition.

Nelson began his involvement with the Olympics as a Dartmouth undergraduate working at a concession stand during the 1996 games in his hometown of Atlanta. Then in 2000, he won the silver medal in shot put at the games in Sydney, Australia.  His second silver medal has reaffirmed his standing as one of the top shot put competitors in the world.

While at Dartmouth, Nelson was a three-time All-American selection, the 1997 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Outdoor Champion, and  a member of the football team. After graduation he was the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials shot put champion, the 2001 Goodwill Games gold medalist, two-time USA Indoor champion, and three-time USA Outdoor champion. He was featured in Sports Illustrated after taking the silver medal at the 2000 Olympics, and has also won silver medals in the World Outdoor games in 2001 and 2003, and Indoor in 2001.

Kristin Luckenbill
Benjie Lewis '05 competed in the Olympic flatwater sprint competition, advancing to the semifinals. (photo courtesy of Benjie Lewis '05)
Benjie Lewis '05 competes in kayaking

Lewis, competing in his first Olympics, advanced to the semifinals of the men's K-1 (singles) 1,000-meter flatwater kayak sprint on Aug. 25.

He began kayaking at age 13. While practicing kayaking extensively at Dartmouth, he has also rowed for the crew team.

Lewis won five gold medals at the National Championships in 2003. At the Pan American games, also last year, he won a silver medal in the K-2 1000M race and finished fifth place in the K-2 500M race.

Having won two silver medals and one bronze at the Olympic U.S. Team Trials for kayaking last year, he competed at Athens in the flatwater sprint races.

The Olympic Games began in ancient Greece, dating as far back as 776 B.C. After being abolished in 393 A.D. for religious reasons, the modern Olympic Games were revived in 1896 in Athens. The 2004 Olympics returned to Athens for the first time since the revival, striving to "combine history, culture and peace with sports and Olympism," according to the official website of the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

By SHIORI OKAZAKI '04

Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.

Last Updated: 12/17/08