Wednesday, July 13, 2016

112 Athletes, 157 Appearances - And One Robin

TigerBlog bought a new bicycle the other day.

It's about time. He was borrowing a bike for his rides with John McPhee, and it was actually a women's bike.

The difference between a men's bike and a women's bike is the bar parallel to the ground. Men's bikes have them; women's don't.

The question is why? TB presumes it has something to do with how young ladies used to wear long skirts when they rode way back when. That makes sense, right?

What doesn't make sense is the bar. If TB were to, uh, slip off the bicycle seat, he'd rather not land on that metal bar.

TB broke out his new bike (and new helmet) yesterday, for a nearly 14-mile ride with Mr. McPhee. This time it was at a park a little north of Princeton, where there is a mostly flat, fairly wide bike path.

There are also trees and benches under some of those trees, and other benches out in the sun along a ridge. It's a very calming place.

And it's a bit more peaceful than battling the traffic throughout town.

While TB and Mr. McPhee rode, they encountered maybe 10 people, and one dog, whose name turned out to be "Lincoln." And a robin in one of the trees.

The robin is a very common bird around this area, and by this area TigerBlog means North America. There's something appealing about the robin, perhaps because it seems to be such a happy, friendly bird, one that is constantly singing, one that has a soothing appearance. Certainly the one that TB saw yesterday fit that description.

There are any number of athletic teams nicknamed "Cardinals." Why aren't there any (or not that many) nicknamed "Robins?"

Unlike the ride around Princeton, the one at the park is a series of trips around what is a slightly more than two-mile loop. By the time TB had circled back around, the robin had gone to a different tree. He was probably still there, though, watching over TB, wondering to himself why he was struggling to keep up with the 85-year-old guy again.

The ride around the park is much more conducive to conversation than on the streets. At one point, the talk turned to the Olympic Track and Field trials, and TB told Mr. McPhee about how close Julie Ratcliffe had come to getting to Rio, after she threw 70.75 meters to set the New Zealand record but fell 0.25 meters (less than 10 inches) short of the Olympic qualifying standard.

On the other hand, the 70.75 was her personal best - and four more meters than she threw when she won the NCAA championship as a Princeton sophomore in 2014. And it was also the New Zealand record.

TB has a sense Ratcliffe's chance to get to the Olympics is just starting. In another four years - which includes her senior year at Princeton next year - she'll be back.

TB also mentioned Donn Cabral and how he rallied to reach the Olympics against in the steeplechase. Mr. McPhee said that a few years back he and Bryce Chase were riding, at a pretty good pace he said, when a runner came up next to them, ran with them for a few minutes and then sprinted away from them.

It was Donn Cabral.

It appears that all Olympic qualifying is over, and it would seem like Princeton will have 13 (or 14) representatives in Rio. They are:

women's soccer - Diana Matheson (Canada)
field hockey - Julia Reinprecht, Katie Reinprecht, Kat Sharkey
track and field - Donn Cabral, assistant cross country coach Robby Andrews (a UVa grad)
fencing - Kat Holmes
women's water polo - Ashleigh Johnson
rowing - Lauren Wilkinson (Canada), Glenn Ochal, Robin Prendes, Tyler Nase, Gevvie Stone, Kate Bertko

With the addition of those 13, Princeton's all-time total of Olympians is now 157 appearances by 112 athletes. In the last three Summer Games, the numbers are 29 athletes, 41 appearances.

Princetonians have won 18 gold medals, 22 silver medals and 23 bronze medals.

If you're a Princeton fan, you have to feel pretty good about the chances of success - and medals - in Rio. Basically everyone on the list above figures to make some noise while there.

The Summer Games start on Aug. 5 and run until the 21st. There will be pretty in-depth coverage on and here.

Hey, that's only three weeks from now?

And then when it's over, there'll be less than a week until Princeton Athetics starts up again?


Steven J. Feldman '68 said...

Maybe I am wrong but I would assume that Julie Ratcliffe still has time to meet the qualifying standard in the women's hammer throw before the Olympics begin.

Tad La Fountain '72 said...

Assuming that you are using the Wikipedia listing of Princeton Olympians, you can add one more: Lockwood "Woody" Pirie '27. Finishing second in the 1948 Star class trials by one point, he was asked to go to London/Torquay to represent the US in the new Swallow class (of which there were none in the country). He picked up a newly-minted Harvard grad who happened to be in London as his crew...and won the Bronze medal in his first time sailing the boat. A few weeks later, he won the Star Worlds in Portugal, where the skipper who had beat him in the trials (and who had won the Star Gold medal in the Games) came in third.
Don't know why Pirie is not on the list, but he definitely should be. And at the northeast end of Lake Carnegie is the sailing team's Lockwood Pirie '27 Boathouse, given in his memory by family and friends.
Tigers in and around Chicago will be familiar with the dry goods emporia founded by his grandfather John T. Pirie and J. T.'s close friend (and brother-in-law) Samuel Carson.