To celebrate the upcoming Olympic games, OrthoCarolina teammates share memories from Olympians of the past and who to watch for in Rio.
Chris Gabriel (Physical Therapist, OrthoCarolina at D1 Sports): My favorite Olympian is Carl Lewis. After missing the 1980 Olympic games, he went on to win four gold medals in 1984. Lewis continued to be a dominant force for years to come in the long jump, 100 meter, 200 meter and 4 x 100-meter relay.
I’m excited to watch the track and field events, particularly the triple jump and hurdles, two events I did in high school.
Aaron Hall (Physical Therapist, OrthoCarolina Monroe): My pick is Gwen Jorgensen who is competing in the Olympic Triathlon. She is an amazing athlete who won 12 straight Olympic distance triathlons in the professional circuit and is the favorite for the gold medal this year.
I’m a triathlete and appreciate the ability needed to compete in the decathlon. It’s impressive to see an athlete be the best in the world while competing in ten different disciplines.
Kristin Heitbrink (Physical Therapist, OrthoCarolina Eastover): My favorite Olympian is Jenn Suhr. She is a current pole vaulter and has been in the last two Olympic games. We grew up together and I can’t wait to cheer her on in Rio!
Since I’m a runner, my favorite sport to watch will be the track and field events.
Aaron Hewitt (Physician Assistant, OrthoCarolina Sports Medicine): Carl Lewis was my hero. He was such a dominate athlete, setting world records in multiple events. Also, in one of my favorite redemption moments, the only person that beat him, had to cheat to do so.
I enjoy watching track events, specifically sprinting. I can't imagine the focus it takes to train for four years for a 10-20 second race.
Amanda Hewitt (Physical Therapy Assistant, OrthoCarolina Randolph): My favorite Olympian is Kerri Strug. I remember being in awe of the Magnificent Seven at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Kerri showed determination to hold the weight of her entire team as they were neck and neck with Russia. Despite being injured, Kerri completed her vault to win gold. Gymnastics continues to be my favorite sport to watch.
Andy Hylton (Physician Assistant, OrthoCarolina Pineville): As a native of England, I’m allowed to have both an American and British favorite. Carl Lewis was my favorite U.S. sprinter, he ran a race with raw power and speed. Steve Gram with the British Olympic team was another favorite. He ran the 1500 meter perfectly – all about timing, tactical awareness and endurance.
I love the whole Olympic experience but particularly enjoy watching track, especially the sprinters and middle distance.
Mark Miele (Physical Therapist, OrthoCarolina Gastonia): Jim Thorpe is my favorite Olympian. I admire his athleticism to win both the pentathlon and decathlon.
I’m excited to watch gymnastics. It is remarkable what those athletes can do.
Kyle Raygor (Practice Manager, OrthoCarolina Gastonia): Derek Redmond, a British sprinter during the 1992 Olympic games is my Olympic hero. Redmond tore his hamstring halfway through the 400-meter race and collapsed on the track. Instead of quitting, Redmond along with help from his father finished the race. It was an amazing display of perseverance, love and the human spirit.
An avid soccer fan, I’ll be pulling for the U.S. women’s soccer team to bring home the gold again. I believe we will win!