Cut out photos of Olympians Jenna Prandini, Charlie Hunter, Aneta Konieczek, Devon Allen, and Galen Rupp against a green background with UO and Olympic logos

Business Ducks Flock to Tokyo

There was so much University of Oregon representation in the 2020 Olympics, fans had their schedules full. Nineteen Ducks traveled to Tokyo, Japan, for the games, which took place July 23–August 8, 2021 after a one-year delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though extra safety measures made for an unusual event, these athletes’ spirits were by no means dimmed—nor were their performances.

Five of these Olympians have ties to the Lundquist College of Business, with both current and former students represented.

Jenna Prandini, a former business Duck, took home silver in the 4x100 meter relay. She also competed in the 100 meter and 200 meter events. This was Prandini’s second time representing Team USA in the Olympic Games—she previously competed in the 200 meter race at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Team USA’s Devon Allen ’17, a former member of UO’s track and football teams, placed fourth in the 110 meter hurdles. Allen had also previously competed in the 2016 Rio Games in the 110 meter hurdles.

Pre-business student Charlie Hunter, a member of the Class of 2022, represented his home country of Australia in the 800 meter race. Business administration major Aneta Konieczek, another member of the Class of 2022, wore Poland’s red and white in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. She and her sister Alicja, also an Olympian, created the “Steeple Sisters” vlog series to document their journey.

Another former business Duck, Galen Rupp, competed in the men’s marathon. Rupp is the veteran of a stunning four Olympic Games: his first was Beijing, China, in 2008; he took home silver in the 10,000 meter event in the London games in 2012; and won bronze in the marathon in Rio in 2016.

Though not a business student, Raevyn Rogers—who earned bronze in the 800 meter event—had a big fan in the Lundquist College. Her mentor, Ellen Schmidt-Devlin, is the cofounder and executive director of the UO Sports Product Management Program.

Rogers and Schmidt-Devlin met in the summer of 2015 during an information session held in Portland for UO’s incoming freshmen athletes. A former track athlete herself, Schmidt-Devlin offered to stay connected with the athletes—an offer which Rogers took with gusto.

“Our mentor-mentee relationship has continued to this day, and I was so pleased when she decided to train in Portland,” Schmidt-Devlin said. “Raevyn is part of our family.”

The athletes weren’t the only business Ducks that made their way to Japan this summer. Instructor of Sports Business Yoav Dubinsky’s research focuses on the Olympic movement and the ways in which sports and diplomacy interlink. He traveled to Japan to study the action firsthand.

Dubinsky currently serves as a research fellow for the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy (CPD), and his research project in that capacity is on sport-tech diplomacy in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.