Saturday, June 25, 2016

Savannah State Student Heads to 2016 Olympics

This is a video that was conducted by a group of students from the SSU Media High summer camp and it is about Burkina Faso's Olympic swimmer Thierry Sawadogo

SAVANNAH, Georgia -- Savannah State Student Thierry Sawadogo is heading to the 2016 Olympics being held in Rio De Janero, Brazil later this summer.

The freshman athlete will be competing in swimming for Burkina Faso, a small country in West Africa.

“Here in America from 10 months ago I’ve improved my spots with my coach Joe Witt,” says Sawadogo.

According to SSU Assistant Athletic Director of Media Relations Opio Mashariki, Sawadogo is not the first Olympian to come from SSU.

Former student Pa Modou Gai represented Gambia in the 2000 Olympic games in track and field. Former student Amara Jones represented the Bahamas in the 2012 Olympics in track and field also.

Due to SSU not having a swim team or an Olympic pool, Sawadogo has been training with the Savannah Swim Team at the Chatham County Aquatic Center.

“It is a bit hard for my parents to help me because I am here for my studies and my sport so it costs a lot of money, I’d like to get some help like a scholarship,” he said.

Athletic Director Sterling Steward says “budgets” are the primary reason why SSU and other schools in the MEAC fail to have swim teams.

Despite the obstacles, Sawadogo remains hopeful in competing this summer and for his future.

“Its more of a big experience for me, I’m still a young swimmer my level is not like the big swimmers of the world,” says Sawadogo.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps who will be competing in his last Olympics is one swimmer Sawadogo looks up to.

“I met him in Barcelona of 2013, I took a picture with him,” he said.

Some students although unaware that a SSU student was competing in the Olympics, are excited for what this could mean for their school.

Student Malaysia Bacon says, “ We already have enough different students receiving various accolades, and helping build the name of the university, so for one of our students to be going to the Olympics, that’s great.”

She goes on to say, “ They are just building more exposure for our school so one day we’ll be up there with Duke or something.”

Sawadogo will be leaving in late July for the Olympics and will not return until October just in time to pick up mini semesters for the fall semester.

By Asha Gilbert

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