Current and former OSU student-athletes head to the Beijing Games.

OSU Olympians head to Beijing
OSU Olympians head to Beijing

From Aug. 8-24, the world’s attention will turn to Beijing, China and the 2008 Olympic Games. Five current, future and former Oregon State University student-athletes will be making the trip and trying for gold. “We are very proud of our extraordinary student athletes and alumni who are participating in the Summer Olympics, and we know they will represent Oregon State University well in every respect,” said OSU President Ed Ray. Read more about our Beaver representatives and how they made it to Beijing.

Heinrich Barnes

Heinrich Barnes chose to wrestle at OSU because he thought it would help him reach his full potential. He was right. After having one of the most impressive opening seasons at Oregon State in 2007-08, Barnes qualified for the Summer Olympics, earning a berth to represent his native South Africa. “It’s a big accomplishment for me to represent South Africa in the Olympics,” Barnes said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do all of this without my coaches and teammates at Oregon State. It’s a dream come true.”

Barnes, a junior business administration major, headed to Tunisia in March to compete in the FILA-African Senior Continental Championship at 66 kilograms (roughly 145.5 pounds), defeating three opponents to take the title and the automatic berth to Beijing. Barnes’ competition begins Aug. 20.

Saori Haruguchi

Saori Haruguchi

In March, Saori Haruguchi became the first swimmer in Beaver history to capture an individual NCAA title when she won the 200-yard butterfly in a school-record 1:52:39. But that was only the first of her goals for the year. The second was to clinch a spot on the Japanese Olympic swim team. Haruguchi achieved that, too, when she qualified in the 400 individual medley with a time of 4:38.94 at the Japanese Olympic trials in April. “It was awesome winning the 400 IM,” she said. “I even had fun with all the pressure. I saw so many of my friends cheering for me; it helped me deal with the pressure.”

Haruguchi, a junior majoring in human development and family studies, took a break from her studies at OSU after the winter term to train in Japan. “I am so excited to practice with the national team for Beijing,” she said.

Olivia Vivian

At 19, Olivia Vivian of Perth, Australia, is the oldest member of the Australian artistic gymnastics team that will go to the 2008 Summer Olympics. But she hasn’t even started at OSU yet. Vivian will come to Oregon State in the fall to join the Beavers gymnastics team. Until then, her focus is on Beijing. Vivian was one of six gymnasts nominated to form Australia’s national team. “I feel that we have picked the strongest team,” coach Peggy Liddick said. “The bottom line was their potential to contribute to the team score, and if all else was equal there, we had to go with international experience.”

Although Australia has never won an artistic gymnastics medal, Liddick believes her team has the talent and depth to make history in Beijing. To find out more about Olivia Vivian’s journey to the Olympics, check out her blog.

Brian Barden

Former OSU infielder Brian Barden was one of 23 players named to the 2008 USA Baseball Olympic Team, making him the first Beaver baseball player to compete in the Olympics. Baseball competition is scheduled to start Aug. 13 and conclude with medal games on Aug. 23. Currently with the Memphis Redbirds, a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, Barden has played in 89 games this season and is batting .303 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs.

Barden, a native of Templeton, Calif., was drafted in the sixth round of the 2002 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was one of three Beavers who made their MLB debuts in 2007. He appeared in eight games with the Diamondbacks and 15 with the Cardinals.

Josh Inman

Former Oregon State rower Josh Inman and teammate Matt Schonbrich of St. Paul, Minn., originally qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in the pairs in early June. Shortly after, though, the coaching staff made a change of plans and decided Inman would row in the men’s eight. “Competing in the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I started rowing at Oregon State,” Inman said. “The choice between rowing in the eight or the pair really came down to where I was most comfortable and felt I could be the most helpful.”

Inman, the 2005 U.S. Rowing Male Athlete of the Year, lettered on the varsity crew at OSU from 2000-2002. He led the Beavers’ varsity-8 to a fourth-place finish in the 2002 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships in New Jersey, the highest finish ever for OSU.

Update: Josh Inman and the U.S. men’s eight won Olympic bronze on Sunday, August 16 in Beijing. Inman and his teammates finished in 5:25.34, behind gold medalists Canada and silver medalists Britain.

Robbie Findley

Former OSU soccer star Robbie Findley is an alternate for the U.S. Soccer team this summer in Beijing. Findley was the first Beaver soccer player to be named First Team All-Pac-10 three times, and he finished his four-year collegiate career with OSU as the school’s third all-time leading scorer with 28 goals. Findley is the starting striker on the MLS team Real Salt Lake.

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