Brian Olson Named Olympic Team Captain

Aug. 07, 2008, 6:58 p.m. (ET)
(Beijing, China) - With three Olympic Games and 25 years of competition under his belt, Brian Olson (Boulder, Colo. / Tallahassee, Fla.) brings a high level of both leadership and judo experience to the U.S. Olympic Team for Judo and will bring those qualities to his role as team captain.

Olson was named to the honorary role by his fellow athletes who unanimously elected him to the position on Wednesday.

A 1997 World medalist, Olson retired after the 2004 Games, but the 35-year-old came back to competition in October with the goal of winning a medal.

"Coming off a three-year layoff and this being a younger team with a lot of first-time Olympians, I've very honored that everybody had come to a group consensus that I should be the captain."

Olson was 23-years-old when he competed at his first Olympic Games in Atlanta and was just beginning a career that would make him one of the most respected U.S. judo players in history.

"I think what I bring to being team captain is that I've been through it. In Atlanta, I was the young kid. A lot of those guys were on their second or third teams and everything was new for me," Olson said. "Opening Ceremonies will really bring the magnitude of this whole experience to the new players. They've done the Worlds and seen the level of competition, but the Olympics is just such a different experience. The crowds are always ridiculous. Everything's louder and larger, people are cheering and have their faces painted... I just want to help them keep everything on track and realize that it's just another day and not to get overwhelmed by the whole experience."

Olson will compete in the 90kg division on August 13. Competition begins for the U.S. Team on Saturday with Taraje Williams-Murray (Wakefield, Mass. / Bronx, N.Y.) and Sayaka Matsumoto (El Cerrito, Calif. / Richmond, Calif.) in the 60kg and 48kg divisions, respectively.