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Friday, September 28, 2012
Sharing with Olympian Nicole Davis

By Emily Young

University of Southern California
Nicole Davis, center, who led USC to two national titles, gave the current Trojans a thrill when she came to practice.

For those of you who don't know, I am from Illinois, where, unlike California, meeting a celebrity is a big deal! I still secretly gush when popular athletes say hi to me in passing, even though I am an athlete myself. Needless to say, when I walked in to practice to find none other than Nicole Davis, Team USA's two-time Olympic medal-winning libero, warming up to practice with us, I was starstruck.

Just check out Nicole's résumé and you'll know she's the real deal. She won two national championships with USC and has gone on to win two silver medals with the U.S. Olympic team, one in Beijing and one in London. Much of my practice was spent watching her in between my reps, my mind wrapping around the fact that I was practicing with an Olympic athlete.

I believe there is a point in every athlete's life where you dream about the Olympics. When I played soccer, I wanted to be like Mia Hamm. I have her USA jersey, shorts and poster and a signed ball.

Practicing with Nicole was like walking into a dream. I wanted to absorb every piece of knowledge from her that I could, because in the end, we are both athletes playing the same 25-point game. Each player on our team can make plays like Olympians, but when I got a kill from Nicole's bump set, the dream was reignited inside.

As amazing as practice was, I was quickly grounded when I left. I couldn't lift my arm high enough to put my water bottle in the side pouch of my backpack, and a basketball player watching my struggle stopped and asked, "Do you need help?"

Laughing, I finally hooked the water bottle to my bag: "Got it!"

I guess I'm not quite Olympic material yet.