Big Red, white and blue

At this very moment, Big Red is representing in the UK, and, interestingly enough, we’re not talking about IU hooping it up with its rival Kentucky.

Hoosier diving alumna and eight-time NCAA All-American Christina Loukas will be competing in her second Olympic Games.

Instead, we’re referring to the Hoosiers who are competing in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which began last week and will continue through Aug. 12. This year’s games will feature seven IU Bloomington-affiliated athletes, representing six countries, who will take to the pitch, pool and track in hope of earning a medal for their respective countries and adding to IU’s rich tradition of Olympic success. Since 1904, IU athletes, coaches and staff have accumulated 85 medals, including 48 gold medals, nine of which were captured by IU’s most decorated Olympian, swimmer Mark Spitz.

Two Hoosiers will represent the U.S. for the second straight Olympic Games: Kayla Bashore-Smedley (field hockey) and eight-time All-American Christina Loukas (diving). They will be joined at the Games by other Hoosiers representing Canada, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, France and Hungary.

IU also has numerous connections to the Games who aren’t among the competitors, including coaches and athletics staff who’ve worked with past and present Olympians, as well as faculty who have written and researched about various aspects of the games. Those faculty include Joel Stager, professor of kinesiology and director of the Counsilman Center at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington. Stager and his colleagues have created a neat statistical model based on finalists’ times for each Olympics swimming event since 1972, and they’re able to analyze the impact of the now-banned “flotation suits” that many swimmers wore at the 2008 Olympic Games.

An avid swimmer who worked alongside legendary IU and Olympic swim coach James ‘Doc’ Counsilman, Stager is featured along with IU swim coach Ray Looze, field hockey coach Amy Robertson and others in a series of “Ask the Experts” videos, currently available at a special website devoted to all things IU in London. The site also includes a Hoosier athlete tracker, schedule of events and links to official Olympics news and information.

What’s more, those inclined toward social media can stay connected with the Games by following any number of Twitter accounts accessible via the site, and they can even join in on the conversation by tagging their tweets #IULondon12. (And, yes, we’ll even forgive you if you want to profess your love for the UK … at least until basketball season rolls around.)

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