For years, coaches of the rowing teams recruited by hanging out at orientation or registration (when all payments were received at the Red Gym, that's where the men's coach would be). That's still the case, as a rundown of Wisconsin Olympians reveals.
Grant James, 24, rowing: The native of DeKalb, Ill., had never rowed until he was recruited by UW coach Chris Clark during freshman orientation in 2005. Seven years later he's going to the Olympics as a member of the U.S. men's eight.Several other Wisconsin rowers will participate. The James brothers didn't play sports in high school.
Ross James, 24, rowing: Grant's twin brother, Ross was the last rower to earn his spot in the boat for the U.S. men's eight. Ross rows on the port side of the boat, Grant the starboard side.
DeKalb natives Grant and Ross James each have the 6-foot-6 body of a basketball player, the lungs and legs of an elite cross country runner, and the poise of a marksman, and the pair is set to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London starting this month.Sometimes, the choice of a university matters.
But you won’t remember reading about the twins’ athletic feats in high school, and most readers probably never knew about their athletic gifts when the pair walked the halls of what is now Huntley Middle School. [The high school recently moved to a new campus on the north side of town, with a larger athletic plant, but no planetarium.]
The duo never played football or basketball, although coaches pined for their services over the years, and only have a few years of baseball to their credit at DeKalb.
The pair were part of the eight-man boat that won the 2008 national championship for Wisconsin, and the 24-year-olds will start their Olympic quest July 28 in the preliminary round of the eight-man competition.Sure. Instead of going to Wisconsin, where they row, they matriculated at Illinois.
"There are rowers out there walking around that are as good as them that will never know how good they could have been,” Clark said.