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02/21/2014

Grad Connections Bring Cortland to Sochi

SUNY Cortland made it to Sochi, in the form of several Red Dragon alumni working and cheering behind the scenes of the Winter Olympics.

They saw some of the biggest moments and met some of the biggest stars of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. And they were even kind enough to communicate electronically from Russia.

Here’s what brought each graduate overseas:

Angel Bovee M ’13

The former women’s boxing champion once had Olympic dreams of her own, but the longtime rejection of the sport in the Summer Games plus international age restrictions wouldn’t allow it.

But she still managed to realize a version of her Olympic dream in 2012 at the Summer Games in London and again this winter in Sochi.

Bovee
Bovee with U.S. women's
hockey team
member
Caitlin Cahow.

The former recreation major works with the International Olympic Committee and the U.S. Athlete Career Program as a specialist for Adecco, a global human resources company that supplies temporary workers to business clients.

In many cases, even Olympic-caliber athletes cannot survive on endorsements or competition earnings alone. Adecco partners with the U.S. Olympic Committee to provide the country’s competitors — both current and retired — with career services and job prospects.

“It was of course very, very rewarding to see athletes that we helped get a job through the Athlete Career Program make their Olympic dreams come true,” she wrote in an email, reflecting on her most memorable experiences from Sochi.

She also was in attendance when the U.S. men’s hockey team knocked off Russia in a dramatic shootout and seized the opportunity to meet Caitlin Cahow, an openly gay U.S. women’s hockey team member selected for President Barack Obama’s Olympic delegation.

Matt Oakes M ’11

Oakes
Oakes with bronze medalist
Erin Hamlin.

The senior national team athletic trainer for U.S. Luge, Oakes had a firsthand look at one of the nation’s most memorable moments from the 2014 Winter Games — witnessing Remsen, N.Y., native Erin Hamlin become the first female American luger to medal at the Olympics.

“My favorite moment was for sure watching Erin win the bronze medal,” he wrote. “Second, at this point, would be sitting five rows up for the (men’s hockey game between the U.S. and Russia).”

Oakes, a former recreation major, attended graduate school with Bovee.

“We took many of the same classes and have been friends since,” he wrote, reporting that another one of the trip’s constant highlights involves reading electronic messages sent by friends from his undergraduate days at Alfred University and his grad school days at SUNY Cortland.

Debbie Starr Bowe ’80 and Mike Bowe ’83

The native Central New Yorkers, who both now live in Florida, made the trip overseas to support their daughter — talented U.S. speed skater Brittany Bowe.

The world record holder in the 1,000 meters distance, she finished 13th in 500 meters, 8th in 1,000 meters and 14th in 1,500 meters.