Aug. 5, 2008
Northridge, Calif. - The Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, will be held August 8-24. Seilala Sua, an assistant track & field coach at Cal State Northridge, says she will be watching almost every minute of the Olympic Games.
Sua was a member of the United States team at two Olympic Games in the discus (2002 in Sydney, 2004 in Athens). A 2001 UCLA graduate, Sua is the winningest athlete in NCAA track and field history. Sua won seven NCAA titles and was a 14-time All-American. After UCLA, she continued her remarkable athletic career (discus, shot put) both nationally and internationally.
Q: Can you tell us about how exciting and honored it was to be a member of the United States Olympic teams in 2000 (Sydney, Australia) and in 2004 (Athens, Greece)?
A: "Making the team was a huge honor. My first Olympics was in 2000 in Sydney, and I was so excited since I had competed in Sydney before at the World Junior Championships. I had always wanted to go back to Australia. The people there were so nice and enthusiastic. What stood out for me in 2000 were the opening ceremonies. Walking into the stadium and everybody cheering in the stadium was memorable. Everybody in the stadium liked the American team. There was so much going on; being a part of Team America and having so much national pride. That was a big deal."
Q: Did you have family and friends join you in Sydney in 2000?
A: "My mom and sister saw me compete. That was pretty exciting to have them there to help support me. They were very proud. I also had a lot of hometown support from Florida. Everybody was sending me congratulations for making the team; stuffed animals, cards, etc. I still have my opening ceremonies uniform. The United States gave us so much stuff; a lot of Team USA clothing."
Q: In 2004, you were a member of the United States team in Athens, Greece. What memories do you have about your second trip to the Olympics?
A: "The most memorable aspect was the history behind the Olympics being held in Greece. You could see all the history just walking around the city. The streets, the buildings, and the people reflected the Olympic spirit. The people were so sweet."
Q: You had great success at UCLA, and competing on the national and international levels. How would you compare those journeys in comparison to being an Olympian?
A: "That was probably the peak of my career. Competing and being there at the Olympics."
Q: Will you be watching the Olympics from start to finish?
A: "Of course. I'm excited. Now that I am not competing, I enjoy being a spectator. When I'm watching the opening ceremonies, I'll have a feeling of national pride, and know that I was a part of that great experience. I'll miss being a part of Team USA because it was such a big honor. Here in the United States we value Olympians so much. I'll think we'll have a very strong American discus team, and I'll be following their efforts very closely. But I'll be following all the other sports. I love to watch volleyball, gymnastics, and basketball. I'll be in front of the TV every day."