ShareThis Page

Olympians readjusting to life back in college

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 11:12 p.m.
Penn State fencer Miles Chamley-Watson represented the United States at the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. (Courtesy of Miles Chamley-Watson)
Team USA, including Miles Chamley-Watson (right), celebrates after beating France during the men's foil team fencing quarterfinals competition on Aug. 5 at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. (Dmitry Lovetsky | AP)
West Virginia's Petra Zublasing represented Italy at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Just two months ago, Miles Chamley-Watson was rubbing shoulders with LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

The Penn State fencer posed for pictures with the U.S. women's basketball team, hung out with track and field star Lolo Jones and exchanged tweets with the gold-medal winning women's gymnastics team.

Now it's back to school — and a dose of reality — for Chamley-Watson after taking a year off to train for the Olympics.

“I was getting spoiled at the Olympics,” said Chamley-Watson, who is on track to graduate in May. “I was getting my massages every day, stretching every day. Now I have to do it all on my own. It's kind of a slap in the face.”

Chamley-Watson wasn't the only Olympian returning to campus. Fellow Penn Staters Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi (foil, Mexico) and Kirsten Nieuwendam (200 meters, Suriname) returned to school, as did West Virginia's Petra Zublasing (rifle, Italy).

Nicco Campriani, a West Virginia graduate, started graduate school for sport engineering at England's University of Sheffield. Campriani took gold in the 50-meter 3 positions and silver in the 10-meter air rifle.

Zublasing, for one, was thrilled to rediscover anonymity in Morgantown. It took about two weeks for her to decompress from the constant commotion.

“Everybody wants something from you,” said Zublasing, who is majoring in civil engineering. “Even if they have no clue who you are, but they see you in a jersey — for me, it was Italy — and they'll be like, ‘Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I need to take a picture with you.' ”

Zublasing misses some parts of the Olympic village, particularly the healthy menu of the 24-hour dining hall that met the needs of athletes from more than 200 countries.

For the most part, she's happy to be back to “real life” — whether that means studying, practicing or doing her laundry.

“Over there, you're an athlete and everything is about you,” she said. “For every athlete at the Olympics, there were 14 volunteers. Pretty much, if you asked somebody, ‘Could you help me with this?', 14 people would jump and run. And that's just not realistic. You don't have that at home.”

Although the London Games may be in the past, there's no escaping their presence.

“My whole room is covered in posters and swag, so it's a reminder and motivation for me. Training for (2016 Games in) Rio starts now,” Chamley-Watson said. “It's a reminder of where I want to go and what I have to do to get there.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.