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Simone Biles has a near-unassailable record as the greatest gymnast of all time. With six Olympic medals (four gold), 25 World Championship medals (19 gold) and various other championships to her name, the hardware that the 24-year-old has stacked up over her career speaks for itself.
For most Dartmouth student-athletes, summer is a time to rest and recharge from the previous season while preparing for the next. This summer, instead of recovering from the knocks and bruises of the past year, athletes are focusing on getting ready for the upcoming fall, which will be the first time Ivy League competitors set foot onto fields and courts since early 2020.
On Friday, July 23, three Dartmouth alumni and one current student will walk into the National Stadium in Tokyo, parade behind their national or territorial flags and watch in awe as the Olympic torch ignites the Olympic cauldron. U.S. women’s rower Molly Reckford ’15, U.S. rugby player Ariana Ramsey ’22, U.S. men’s rugby player Madison Hughes ’15 and Puerto Rico women’s basketball player Isalys Quiñones ’19 Th’20 all qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and will be eager to make their nations proud as the events kick off on Friday.
It was just last week that I spent 1,000 words of ink in this very column extolling the virtues of Giannis Antetokounpo and his Milwaukee Bucks after they fought back to even their Finals matchup with Phoenix at two games apiece. Since then, everything has changed.
On July 13, Ben Rice ’22 — a catcher for the Dartmouth baseball team — was selected by the New York Yankees with the 363rd overall pick in the 12th round of the MLB draft. A baseball player since his youth, Rice only competed for Dartmouth during his freshman spring due to the Ivy League’s decision to cancel the past two spring seasons because of COVID-19. Despite a short college career, Rice was able to showcase his skills during his freshman season as well as two summer leagues: the Futures Collegiate Baseball League, where he earned the MVP award playing for the Worcester Bravehearts in 2020, and the prestigious Cape Cod League, where he briefly played for the Cotuit Kettleers.
Three heavyweight rowers and four lightweight rowers from Dartmouth represented the U.S. and Canada in the World Rowing Under-23 Championships this past weekend in Racice, Czech Republic.
After the Phoenix Suns won both of their home games in the NBA Finals, taking a commanding early 2-0 lead in the series, the Bucks’ title expectations seemed to be on the ropes. Cue the “Suns in 4” jokes. Unable to withstand consecutive offensive onslaughts from Chris Paul and Devin Booker, even with a dominant 42-point, 12-rebound, four-assist performance from Giannis Antetekoumpo in Game 2, the Bucks looked cooked.
On June 25, Athlete Ally, an organization dedicated to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports, updated their rating of the Athletic Department’s inclusion policies, changing Dartmouth’s Athlete Equality Index score to 100 out of 100. In March, Dartmouth received a score of 40 out of 100 from the same organization.
Last Wednesday, for the first time in college sports history, the NCAA announced rule changes that made collegiate athletes eligible to earn money from sponsorships and other business opportunities without losing their eligibility.
On July 1, the NCAA adopted a new policy that will allow almost half a million student-athletes across the country to profit off of deals based on their name, image or likeness. On the same day, the Ivy League affirmed this decision and modified its existing rules to allow student-athletes to participate in NIL activities. New opportunities for student-athletes, who would have previously been in violation of NCAA requirements to maintain their amateur status, include sponsorships, brand deals and endorsements.
The Suns are in the Finals. Phoenix is a finalist. The Phoenix Suns have advanced to the final round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. No matter how you say it, the Suns’ success this season almost doesn’t sound real.
This is the first edition of Midsummer Musings, a summer term column on the latest happenings in the world of sports.
On May 18, interim athletic director Peter Roby announced the hiring of Liz Keady Norton as head coach of the Big Green women’s hockey team. Keady Norton has coached at Boston University since the 2017-18 season, including the last two years as head coach. During those four years, the Terriers went 59-39-18, including 8-1-1 against ECAC teams.
This spring, fewer COVID-19 restrictions and warmer weather have allowed the Dartmouth football team to enjoy its most frequent regular practice schedule since the beginning of the pandemic. Although many restrictions remain — including the continued requirement of masks underneath players’ helmets — low case counts and high vaccination rates brought about fully-padded practices for the first time in over a year.
On May 5, interim athletics director Peter Roby ’79 announced that Alex Kirk had been rehired as head coach of Dartmouth women’s golf.
On May 3, interim athletics director Peter Roby ’79 announced the hiring of Adrienne Shibles as the new head coach of Dartmouth’s women’s basketball team. Shibles will replace former coach Belle Koclanes, who departed in February following eight years at the helm.
Former Big Green women’s basketball forward Isalys Quiñones ’19 will make history this summer by competing with the Puerto Rican women’s basketball team in this year’s Olympics — a first for Puerto Rican women’s basketball. Quiñones will travel with the team to Tokyo, where it will square off against China in its first game on July 27.
Seven months ago, the Los Angeles Lakers summited the NBA mountaintop, capturing LeBron James’ fourth championship in a triumph over the Miami Heat. Now, with the 2021 NBA playoffs about to begin, new contenders have emerged, and the Lakers find themselves in a far more precarious position.
Men’s Track and Field
On April 24, some Big Green spring sports teams returned to in-person competition for the first time in over a year. After months of being limited to only practice and intrasquad competitions, various spring athletes got back into action competing against local non-conference opponents — both in Hanover and on the road.