Terps Gear Up For London Olympics
July 26, 2012
O'Donnell, the 2009 and 2010 Honda Sports Award winner, and Smith Puzo, a three-time All-American, are both key players for the U.S. Olympic Team. This is O'Donnell's first appearance in the Olympic Games and Smith Puzo's second after competing in Beijing in 2008.
Meharg will work for NBC as an analyst on the field hockey broadcasts. She will work alongside longtime broadcaster Mike Corey and they duo will cover 17 games throughout the course of the Games. No. 10 Team USA's first match in the Olympics will be against No. 3 Germany Sunday, July 29 at 4:15 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
"I don't know who up at NBC wanted to take a look at this coach as a past player and coach, but I'm excited for this new challenge," Meharg said. "They called me at the end of October and asked me if I was interested and said I was a finalist. It was the Tuesday before the NCAA Final Four in Louisville when they called me and asked if I would do it and I agreed."
To prepare for her upcoming role, Meharg talked to players and coaches from around the world, some with Maryland ties, and men's and women's players to learn more about the international game and the competition.
For nine-time national coach of the year Meharg, this is her third time being directly involved with the Olympic Games. She was an alternate in the 1988 Olympics and then, alternates did not travel to the Games. In 1992, Meharg was a member of the U.S. national team, but the Americans did not qualify for the field in Barcelona. She served as an assistant coach in 1996 and then traveled to Beijing in 2008 to support former players Lauren Powley, Smith Puzo and current assistant coach Dina Rizzo.
The Americans have vastly improved from an eighth-place finish in Beijing, entering London after winning gold at the 2011 Pan American Games last October. Team USA beat top-ranked Argentina 4-2 to win the Pan Am and clinch its Olympic bid. In a test series with Argentina in Virginia in June, the Americans went 1-1-2.
In 2008, none of the members of Team USA had Olympic experience. This year, seven of 16 squad members do.
"I think the most glaring difference from the team that went to Beijing is that you have seven out of 16 women in back-to-back Olympic Games that are not being held in the United States," Meharg said. "The great thing about this team is that they have seven players that know what it means to be in the Olympic Games, to get over the emotions of the Opening Ceremony, to deal with the emotions of your family and your friends. The U.S. has a young, fresh core of players that are so naïve, it's beautiful. They are so athletic. The combination of the Olympics-experienced players with the young, fresh players could be a really strong positive for the U.S."
For full television listings, log on to http://www.nbcolympics.com/tv-listings/index.html.
For up to date information, features and notes on Terp Nation in London, log on to http://www.umterps.com/blog/terps-in-london/.