Notable Aggies in the Olympics
Over the years, UC Davis has been well-represented at the Olympic Games. Here is a listing of some of the notable Aggie appearances in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.
Colby E. "Babe" Slater - Rugby
Colby E. "Babe" Slater is one of the first great athletes at UC Davis and competed in football, basketball and baseball from 1914-1917 and was inducted into the Cal Aggie Athletics Hall of Fame in 1980, becoming the earliest Aggie athlete to earn a selection into the Hall of Fame. In 1966, the Slater Award was established in his memory and is bestowed annually on the outstanding male athlete of the year.
Slater earned two gold medals as a member of the 1920 and 1924 U.S. Olympic Rugby teams and captained the 1924 squad. Most recently, it was announced that the International Rugby Board (IRB) will induct the two teams into the IRB Hall of Fame, recognizing the ground-breaking feats to develop and promote rugby in the United States.
Read more about this honor for USA Rugby. A special induction ceremony took place at the halftime break of the IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy between USA and Japan in Salt Lake City on June 30.
Deanne Vochatzer - Track & Field
Few coaches in any sport achieve the ultimate accolade that befell UC Davis women's track and field coach Deanne Vochatzer in 1996. Long one of the outstanding leaders in track and field in the United States, Vochatzer's years of hard work culminated in her being named the head coach of the 1996 U.S. Team at the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Her first UC Davis experience came from 1987-89, when she taught and was women's coach in 1988 and assistant to both the men's and women's programs in 1989-90. Vochatzer then moved to Cal Poly as head women's coach for both track and cross country from 1989-90, before her return to the Davis campus in 1990-91 as head women's track coach.
Her national and international coaching experience goes back to 1979 when she was an aide to that year's Sports Festival team, a role she would reprise in 1981. From 1982-87, Vochatzer was assistant coordinator for women athletes with the U.S. Olympic Festival. She served as coordinator from 1987 to 1994.
In 1992, Vochatzer was alternate head Olympic coach for women and was head coach for two World University Games prior to receiving the prestigious honor of leading the U.S. women track and field athletes into the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta.
Erv Hunt - Track & Field
In the summer of 2006, the UC Davis track & field program scored a major coup with the arrival of Erv Hunt to the coaching staff. The Aggie staff laid claim to both U.S. head coaches from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics: Hunt served as the men's coach while Deanne Vochatzer was the women's coach.
Hunt coached Cal's track & field and cross country programs from 1973-2002, amassing an impressive record. He guided the Golden Bear men's team to almost 250 dual wins, a .773 winning percentage and 10 top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships.
Hunt's international experience is equally extensive. He served on the U.S. staffs at the 1986 Freedom Games (Moscow), the 1992 Olympic Games (Barcelona) and the 1993 World Championships (Germany); then was head coach at the 1995 World University Games. In 1996, he was selected as the head men's track & field coach for the U.S. team at the Centennial Olympiad in Atlanta, Ga.
Linda Somers - Marathon
A two-time All-American in the 10,000 meters, Linda Somers didn't begin her UC Davis distance career until 1981 - her junior year. In just her first cross country season, she was an all-conference, all-region and All-America honoree, repeating the achievements as a senior. She was just as strong during track season. She was the conference champion and an All-American in the 10,000 meter race, setting the NCAC meet record in the process.
Somers completed her standout career for the Aggies, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, but was forced to miss the 1984 Olympics because of extreme pain in her knee. She set aside her running career to purse a law degree before returning to competitive running, finishing second at the national championships in 1986.
She qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1991, finishing 16th, but with her confidence restored, she won the Chicago Marathon the very next year then captured back-to-back national championships in 1993 and 1994.
After a seventh-place finish at the 1995 World Championships, she was 31st overall at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Emily Azevedo - Bobsled
She held the 100-meter hurdles record while a track athlete at UC Davis, then decided to take up bobsledding in 2006 after following the sport at that year's Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. Less than four years later, Emily Azevedo was named to the U.S. bobsled team for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.
Azevedo's 2005 school record was broken in 2009, but the Chico native still holds the No. 2 all-time mark in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.23 seconds. She is also ranked on the program's indoor top-five charts for the 60-meter dash and 60-meter hurdles.
After discovering the sport of bobsledding, she participated as a brakewoman in several international competitions, earning a national championship with Bree Schaaf, her teammate in the Olympics, in 2009. She also won a silver medal during the 2008-09 America's Cup.
Azevedo and Schaaf finished fifth out of 21 teams in the USA-3 in the women's bobsled in 2010.