Daily Cougar Staff
The Atlanta Olympics will definitely have a Cougars flavor to them beginning later this week.
Bahamas native and Houston Cougars track and field sprinter Dennis Darling will compete in the 200-meter dash and in the 4x400-meter relay for the small Caribbean nation.
Darling is the cousin of former Cougars triple jumper Frank Rutherford, who won a bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics and will compete again for the Bahamas this year.
Darling has not been on campus and could not be reached for comment, but UH coach Tom Tellez agreed that Darling is facing some fierce competition, especially from the Americans.
Tellez said, "The Bahamas are definitely limited in what they can do."
In both of Darling's events, Darling will be facing another athlete Tellez coaches, Mike Marsh, as well as American speed demon Michael Johnson.
Johnson and Marsh are favored to win the gold and silver medals, respectively, in the 200, and make up half of the American relay team that is the odds on favorite to win the gold.
The Bahamas 4x400 relay team is not bad, Tellez said, but "I don't think (Darling) has much of a shot in the 200."
Still, Darling was able to make it to the competition of the world's elite, and is the first freshman Cougars prodigy to make an Olympics since Carl Lewis.
The first round of the 200 meters is Wednesday, and the first round of the 400-meter relay is Friday, Aug. 2.
Also making an appearance at the Olympics will be UH swimming and diving coach Jane Figueiredo, who will be coaching Great Britain's diving team.
One might wonder how Figueiredo could link up with the British. The Zimbabwe native holds dual citizenship with Portugal and was a three-time All-American during her four-year collegiate career at Houston.
Figueiredo became involved with the British national team by coaching Houston graduate Olivia Clark from 1991-95.
Clark, a British citizen who did not make the Olympic team, made it to the NCAA championships in each of her four years at Houston.
"I've coached (Great Britain) at several international meets," Figueiredo said.
As a member of the Portuguese National Team at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, she finished 22nd in the qualifying rounds.
Great Britain can get lost in a sport where the Americans are strong and the Chinese are dominating, but Figueiredo thinks they can still make a splash in Georgia.
"This is probably the best team they've had in 10 or 15 years," she said.
Figueiredo said she thinks that some members of her squad have a shot at finishing in the top five in the Olympic diving meets, which begin Friday.
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