The curtain has fallen on another Olympics.
As it’s been the case since 1996 in Atlanta - Team USA failed to send a representative for the team handball event, prompting many to flood our emails with inquires regarding the status of the USA MNT and WNT.
Given the lack of any handball coverage in the US, the Olympic Games have become over time the number one recruitment source.
For this reason, during the Olympics usateamhadball.org setup specific emails that coupled with help from regional volunteers (huge thanks to Mark, Craig, Sarah, Michael and Diva) aided in the recruitment response process.
That’s been the pattern for quite some time and there is no secret that several of our US handball clubs and a handful of our current MNT and WNT players owe their handball involvement to either the 2004 Athens or 2008 Beijing Games.
Sustainability however, has been an entirely different story.
US Team Handball has also benefited a great deal from the unlikeliest of supporters.
NBA superstars Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Smits and Hall Of Famer Akeem Olajuwon have always been gracious ambassadors for the sport, given that they grew up playing the sport themselves. Former Seattle Supersonics All Star Shawn Kemp and current 2012 Dream Teamer Russell Westbrook have even gone public stating that they would love to represent the US in team handball.
Mainstream media has also been a staunch supporter of the sport.
From NPR’s Stefan Fatsis to SNL’s Seth Meyers and now ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt – they have all professed their love and admiration for the sport of team handball. You can also add Mike Pesca (a National Desk correspondent for NPR) to the list. Mike was a guest on CNN this Sunday (August 12, 2012) and he was quite demonstrative when it came to team handball and how it needs to be played in every school in the US! What a novel idea.
NBC has also stepped up.
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the peacock network and NBCOlympics.com have done a masterful job of proliferating the coverage of team handball on the web. TV coverage, featuring our very own Dawn Allinger Lewis as the color commentator, has also seen a steady rise. And along with the internet and social networking -- connecting the dots between players, clubs and National Teams has become easier.
Going forward we are committed to lending a hand. But it will take a village…
And with a new Olympic cycle under way (Rio in 2016 – in case you forgot) most aspiring US Olympians will look to our federation as the principal source of information and guidance.
Everything from creating or finding a club to identifying the metrics required to become a future USA team handball Olympian – will be available right here on usateamhandball.org.
We’d like to promise you that both of our National Teams will be present in Rio 4 years from now. But we can’t.
What we can promise is that effective today, the goal of this federation will be to grow handball the right way. To nurture it and promote it -- by hiring the best in the business.