Although Rio de Janeiro is more than 7,000 miles away from the San Fernando Valley, CSUN Athletics carries a strong tradition of participation in the Summer Olympic Games. The Matadors will have several representatives at the games in Brazil while also having Olympic veterans among their coaches and administration.
In 2016, CSUN will have several representatives at the games. Former track standout Hafsatu Kamara ’14 (Kinesiology) will be representing Sierra Leone in the 100m. She owns the national record in the event with a career-best time of 11.61 seconds. Kamara has represented Sierra Leone in international competition before at events in Scotland and China.
Kamara will be the only woman representing Sierra Leone in Rio at the 2016 Summer Olympics. As a country, Sierra Leone did not have enough athletes meet IAAF/IOC standards, so the rule stipulates that if a country has no athletes that meet standard, they are offered wild card entries for one male and one female so that the nation is represented at the games.
At CSUN, Kamara was a part of a 4x100m relay team that advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Championships and placed 10th in 2014. She also advanced to the finals of the 100m at the NCAA West Regional Preliminary Championships in both her outdoor seasons as a Matador and in the 200m in her first year on the squad.
In volleyball, former Matador Lynda Morales ’10 (Family and Consumer Sciences) and her teammates from the Puerto Rico National Team will play in the Olympic games for the first time this summer in Rio.
Following a straight-set (25-8, 25-23, 25-15) victory over Kenya on May 22, Puerto Rico earned the 12th and final berth in the Olympic tournament that opens Aug 6. Puerto Rico will join hosts Brazil, China, Serbia, Russia, Argentina, United States, Cameroon, Japan, Italy, Netherlands and South Korea in the 12-team field.
Against Kenya, the former Matador had seven points on four kills and three blocks. Morales, who started all three matches is the tournament at middle blocker, also contributed eight points in a straight-set win over Colombia. Morales was a four-year letterwinner for the Matadors from 2007-10.
Another former standout, Katie Holloway ’08 (Sociology), will be participating in her third Paralympic Games as part of Team USA’s Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team. In 2008, she claimed a silver medal in Beijing and then repeated the feat in 2012 in London.
Holloway was named USA Volleyball Female Sitting Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and is the only women’s student-athlete ever to compete in NCAA Division I women’s basketball with a prosthetic limb.
The Paralympics will take place in Rio beginning Sept. 7.
On the track, Matador assistant coach Lawrence Johnson trained three U.S. Olympians for the 2016 games in Northridge. A hurdle specialist, Johnson worked with Brianna Rollins, the U.S. champion in the 100-meter hurdles, Kristi Castlin, the U.S. runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles, and Dalilah Muhammad, the U.S. champion in the 400-meter hurdles, in the San Fernando Valley in the lead up to the Olympics. Johnson will be attending the games for the first time in his professional career in Rio in support of the athletes has trained