Six Yellow Jackets Compete in Summer Games
Posted August 1, 2012 | Atlanta, GA
The Summer Olympic Games in London are in full swing, and six current or former Yellow Jackets are testing their skills in pursuit of gold.
Biomedical engineering major Andrew Chetcuti swam for Malta in the 100-meter freestyle in the London Games.
Georgia Tech-affiliated athletes are competing in basketball, swimming and track and field, representing the United States and three other countries. A Yellow Jacket will also compete in the Paralympic Games -- which begin in London on August 29 -- in track and field.
Here is a look at Georgia Tech's Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Chaunté Lowe, Women’s High Jump, United States
High jumper Chaunté Lowe is competing in her third Olympic Games. The 2008 Georgia Tech graduate will jump in the qualifying rounds on August 9, hoping to reach the finals on August 11.
Lowe holds the American record in the event, jumping 6-8 ¼ inches in 2010. She missed most of the 2011 season after giving birth to her second child, Aurora, last April. Now she’s a gold medal hopeful after winning the U.S. Olympic Trials.
The 28-year-old athlete, who graduated with a degree in economics and finance, finished sixth in the 2008 Beijing Games. When she competed in the 2004 Games in Athens, Lowe become the first woman from Georgia Tech’s track and field team to become an Olympian.
Angelo Taylor, Men’s 400m Hurdles, United States
One of the most elite athletes in the world for more than a decade, former Jacket Angelo Taylor represented the USA in his fourth Olympics. Prior to the Games, Taylor was also selected by his teammates as captain of the men’s track squad.
In the finals of the 400-meter hurdles on August 6, Taylor posted a time of 48.25, earning fifth place. His USA teammate, Michael Tinsley, took home the silver with a time of 47.91.
The Albany, Ga., native competed in the 2000 Sydney Games, and went on to win gold in 2004 in Athens and in the 2008 Beijing Games. He added another gold medal in China in the 4 x 400-meter relay race.
Taylor was a Georgia Tech All-American in the 400-meters in 1997 and 1998. A two-time ACC Champion in the 400- and 400-meter hurdles, he led Tech to four straight 4x400 relays.
Cassie Mitchell, Paralymic Track and Field, United States
Cassie Mitchell, a research faculty member in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University, is a member of the USA Track and Field team for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She will compete in the Women’s T52/F52 (quadriplegic) 200-meter on Sept. 1, the 100-meter on Sept. 5 and the F52 discus on Sept. 7.
At 18, Cassie was afflicted with Devics Neuromyelitis Optica, leaving her as a quadriplegic with visual impairments. Even so, she continued to be a competitive athlete. She graduated with a B.S. from Oklahoma State University, where she was an All-American in wheelchair basketball, a Wentz Research Scholar and USA Today Academic All-American. In 2009, Cassie earned her Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Georgia Tech and Emory.
While a postdoctoral fellow, Cassie began to pursue paracycling and track and field, and set her sights on the goal of competing at the London 2012 Paralympics in both sports. After training six hours a day, Mitchell won the H1 Women's Road Race National Championship in Augusta, Ga. It was her unprecedented performance at this event that earned her a spot on the USA National Paracycling team and a place at the 2011 Paracycling World Championships. Cassie’s two gold medals helped Team USA bring home their ninth world championship. Despite her accomplishments, she did not make the USA Paralympic Cycling Team for the 2012 London Games.
Fortunately Mitchell had a back up plan - track and field. She set personal records in three of our her four events at the National Track Trials and earned a spot on the USA Track and Field team.
Alade Aminu, Men's Basketball, Nigeria
While much of the world focused its attention on the "Dream Team," former Jacket Alade Aminu suited up for the Nigerian national team. Aminu scored a team-high 15 points on July 29 against Tunisia, as Nigeria won its first-ever Olympic game.
But that early success did not continue. Nigeria was 1-4 after a losses to Lithuania on July 31, the United States on August 2, Argentina on August 4 and France on August 6. The team was not among the eight to advance to the elimination round.
Aminu, an Atlanta native whose father is of Nigerian descent, wrapped up his four-year Georgia Tech career in 2009. He’s the third Yellow Jacket men's basketball player to play in the Olympics and the first to play for a team other than the United States. He is currently playing for the French Pro A team Élan Chalon.
Andrew Chetcuti, Men’s 100m Freestyle, Malta
Biomedical engineering major Andrew Chetcuti swam for his native country of Malta in the 100-meter freestyle on July 31. He finished third in his heat with a time of 51.67, setting a new national record for Malta. However, he was not fast enough to advance to the semi-finals.
The 19-year-old didn't focus on swimming until age 12, but has already rewritten the swimming record books. Chetcuti has set seven national records in the 50-, 100- and 200-meter freestyle; the 200- and 400-meter freestyle relays; and the 200- and 400-meter medley relays. Chetcuti, who just wrapped up his freshman season, is the fourth Yellow Jacket to swim in the Olympics. Vesna Stojanovska (Macedonia, 2004), Gal Nevo (Israel, 2008) and Onur Uras (Turkey, 2004 and 2008) came before him.
Gal Nevo, Men’s 200m Butterfly, 200m Individual Medley and 400m Individual Medley, Israel
After competing in 2008 in Beijing, Georgia Tech alumnus Gal Nevo represented Israel in his second Olympic Games.
Nevo posted a 1:59 time in the 200-meter individual medley to advance to the semi-finals on August 1. He raced in the same heat as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte of the United States, but he did not qualify for the finals.
The Israeli swimmer also won his heat on July 28 in the 200-meter butterfly and finished third in his heat in the 400-meter individual medley on July 30. But neither time was fast enough to advance to the semi-finals.
Nevo graduated from Georgia Tech in Fall 2010 with a B.S. in economics after transferring from Arizona State University. While at Georgia Tech, he was named an All-American in the 200-meter and 400-meter individual medley and was named ACC Swimmer of the Year in 2009 and 2010.
Georgia Tech Athletics and Jason Maderer contributed to this article.