During their Penn athletic careers, Red and Blue were the only hues that mattered to Brandon Slay and Sarah Garner. But at this year's Olympic Games, which ended in fireworks and revelry this weekend, they added silver and bronze to their colorful resumes. Slay, a 1998 Wharton graduate, came out of nowhere in his first international competition to win the silver medal in freestyle wrestling at 167.5 pounds. And Garner, who graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1994, teamed with partner Christine Collins to take the bronze medal in the women's lightweight double sculls. For Slay, the road to the gold-medal match was marked by heartache and triumph. In June, just to earn his ticket to Sydney, the 25-year-old Texan had to beat his own mentor, Penn assistant coach Brian Dolph, in an emotional final match at the Olympic Trials in Dallas. And at the Games, he had to defeat four-time world champion Bouvaissa Saitiev of Russia, widely considered the world's best freestyle wrestler. And while much of the pre-Games attention was focused on the other Olympians from Penn, Garner has quietly risen to the top of her game in a sport that wins little public recognition. The Wisconsin native and her partner are the defending world silver medalists in their event, and their third-place finish in Sydney helped salvage what was otherwise a disappointing showing for America's rowing participants. Slay, Garner and the three other Penn students and alumni represented among the 10,000 athletes in Sydney for the 27th Olympiad deserve our congratulations and our admiration. While they have their moments in the sun -- before they return to their practice facilities and relative obscurity -- recognize them for their personal dedication to athletic achievement and for what they have done in the name of their country and as representatives of the University.Comments powered by Disqus
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