Originally published in the Los Angeles Loyolan. For original, please refer to: 11 Burning Questions with a 2012 Olympic attendee – Los Angeles Loyolan.
1. How did you get the opportunity to attend the Games?
I learned about a program at the London School of Economics and Political Science through one of my friends who actually was a graduating [LMU student and] Ignatian last year. … I then checked the dates and realized they lined up with the Olympics. So it was kind of an accident.
2. What events did you see?
I saw men’s volleyball. That’s the only thing I could get tickets to, actually, because they stopped selling tickets to Americans. … I was asking at an information booth, “I’m just looking for a ticket. I really don’t care what it is, any event.” And the guy next to me said, “I have some extra tickets, I’m not gonna be able to go to this event. I’ll sell them to you at the same price I paid for them.” And people were paying, like, five to 10 times the value of the ticket, so for 20 pounds, I said yes, and I got to go to the men’s volleyball match between Poland and Australia, and it was really cool. Most people weren’t rooting for a specific team, so every time a point was scored, the audience went crazy.
3. Who was your favorite Olympian this year?
It would have to be Michael Phelps. I still think he’s a god. I think he’s amazing in the fact that he can come back after four more years have gone by and still win gold against brand new athletes and younger athletes.
4. Has it been a goal of yours to go to the Olympics?
More of a dream. I’m originally from Iowa, so I never really thought it would be possible, because the Olympics aren’t coming to Iowa, ever. I never really imagined I’d get the opportunity, so this huge accident was kind of fulfilling one of my dreams.
5. Do you feel you can go back to watching the Olympics on TV after seeing them in person, or will it just not compare?
There’s no comparison anymore. I got the opportunity to watch the Olympics with a whole bunch of people from all around the world, because it was a very international school that I went to, so it was really exciting, watching it there in the city with those people.
6. Do you consider yourself more of a summer Olympics guy or do you prefer the winter Olympics?
I definitely like summer. There are more events I can watch that are more suspenseful. … My sister’s really into soccer, so my family’s a big soccer family, so we always watch those games. I really think the equestrian events are cool, the swimming is awesome, the diving is fun. [Spencer’s sister is LMU soccer team captain and senior Whitney Sharpe.]
7. What else did you do while in London?
I did a lot of cultural stuff, and I did a lot of nerdy stuff. I went to the British Museum, the British Library, and I got to see some of J.K. Rowling’s handwritten [pages] of the first Harry Potter ever, and the first ever drawing of the Shire from “The Hobbit.” The best thing to do … was the pubs you could go to, just because there were people from all around the world at every single pub that you went to, and it was just so international and such a world city at that time.
8. If you could compete in one Olympic event, which would you choose?
I would do the high dive, because I think that’s fascinating. I really think that being up that high and jumping would get my adrenaline rushing.
9. For freshmen reading the Loyolan for the first time, what advice do you have for them?
I’d say, really, if you’re trying to get a solid GPA, don’t take your first classes as a joke. Really focus on your coursework. … Don’t forget that you’re here for school.
10. What are you involved in on campus?
I am an Ignatian, and I’m working on starting a new organization on campus, but it doesn’t exist yet. It’ll be a policy-based organization. Our idea, me and a few other Ignatians, is that it [will focus on] issues that affect Los Angeles. So homelessness, economic issues, environmental issues. We’re going to find professors at LMU who study that issue and then what we’re going to do is with them, create a type of policy proposal or a solution to that problem. Just in a sense of hoping LMU students become more aware of issues that affect Los Angeles so we can offer real solutions. (online only)
11. What are your big hopes for LMU during in its 101st year?
I hope that LMU continues to create a great reputation. I feel like with our 100th year, more people were becoming aware of our University, because it’s mostly a regional school, I’d say. So I hope we continue projecting our image both nationally and internationally, so that eventually our school could be a little more recognized. … I just don’t think people take LMU as seriously as they should.
12. LMU’s LGBTSS is staging a presentation of the play “8,” about Proposition 8 and marriage equality, in early September. The decision has just started to get a little flack. Thoughts?
As someone who’s a bisexual individual, I really do care about this issue. … What I think the University should recognize, as I think they did by [allowing] this, that they have a wide range of students. Not every student is a Catholic or a Jesuit, so I think by LMU allowing it to go forth, in a sense it’s kind of addressing the fact that many different students go here, and they will support and bring awareness to every issue, even if it goes against religious affiliation. I hope that LMU does not cave to this outward pressure. … If they really stood their ground, that would be very respectable in a university, and as a bisexual, I would feel like my university supported me, and didn’t have a sense of a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy, just because it’s a Catholic university.