Olympic Talent-Transfer: How These Former College Athletes Made The USA Handball Team | GMTM
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Olympic Talent-Transfer: How These Former College Athletes Made The USA Handball Team

ByScotty Jenkins

Published on Wed Jun 15 2022

|

3 min read

Olympic Talent-Transfer: How These Former College Athletes Made The USA Handball Team

Like many other Olympic sports, talent-transfer athletes make up a majority of the talent pool in Team Handball. Talent-transfer athletes find team handball after excelling in other team and individual sports.

Within the sport of team handball, there are dozens of different skills that translate easily from other major American sports. Basketball, football, and soccer all have similar skills that an athlete needs to have to excel.

The U.S. National Men's Team Handball roster has a number of players who found a unique path to competing at the highest level of the sport. Some came from a career in major college sports and others continued to play handball after finding it in the intramural or club level.

Luke Bolte

  • Before discovering Team Handball in college, Bolte was a star basketball player at Hopewell-Loudon High School in Tiffin, Ohio.
  • While majoring in Business at Ohio State University, the 6-foot-5 Bolte played the OSU Team Handball Club and found success at the national level.
  • The 21-year-old Bolte is one of the younger members of the U.S. National Team.

Drew Donlan

  • Drew grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota playing football, basketball, and baseball growing up.
  • While attending the U.S. Air Force Academy he tried to walk onto the football team but was led in another direction. Many people believed that his skill set was better suited for handball
  • Drew is the first American handball player to score a goal in the European Handball Cup competition and the Spanish Asobal League.

Cedar Bellows

  • Before Handball, Cedar honed her athletic skills through basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, rodeo, and NPC fitness competitions.
  • Later discovered handball and played her first official season in 2019
  • Played in 13 National Team games last season

Bill Bigham

  • Originally from Manhattan Beach, California, Bill's main sport was football. He even played for the University Of North Carolina from 1997 to 2000.
  • Discovered handball in college and fell in love with its similarities to basketball, football, and baseball.
  • 20 years later, he has competed in multiple handball world championships in both beach and indoor competitions and currently serves on the board of directors for USA Team Handball since 2010.

Chalmers Brown

  • Before rediscovering handball during the Rio 2016 Olympics, Chalmers grew up playing basketball, track & field, cross country, rugby, football, and ultimate frisbee in his hometown New Jersey.
  • Was sitting on the couch watching the Rio Olympics and fell in love with the sport. Ended up moving to California where he began his beach handball journey
  • Chalmers was voted the Most Valuable Defender in the 2020 Copa Internacional de Balonmano Playa Volcán tournament

Kathy Darling

  • Kathy was a star athlete growing up, being named a four-time All American in and Javelin and Discus throw during her time at Johns Hopkins University from 1999-2003
  • She first started playing handball in 2005 and found success in the sport very quickly.
  • Kathy is also the creator and designer of the latest USATH logo.

Rajarshi Chattopadyay

  • Before discovering handball, Rajarshi was a star tennis player at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland.
  • Discovered handball while watching the 2016 Olympics and knew he had to get involved.
  • He chose to pursue indoor Handball and has won 1st place in multiple handball tournaments.

Jordan Fithian

  • Grew up as an urban legend, Jordan graduated high school as the all-time leading scorer and state champion in basketball, while being a two-time state champion soccer goalkeeper
  • 4 years after being named Mr. Kansans Basketball and Kansans Gatorade Player of the year, Jordan began playing Handball in 2008.
  • In 2016, his team won the 2016 USATH Open National Championships, Elite Division

Jade Hayes

  • Prior to handball, Jade was a star volleyball player for the University of Missouri and the University of Central Florida
  • She then discovered Handball while living at Hermosa Beach
  • Now she is a part of the Team Handball beach team

Willard Johnson

  • Before handball, Willard Johnson was an elite handball player, winning high school championships, playing at MIT, and even playing basketball professionally overseas.
  • During one of his overseas hoop adventures to Iceland, Willard discovered and fell in love with handball.
  • Now he plays beach handball and has placed first place in the 2019 North American & Caribbean Handball Confederation (NORCA) Championships

Michael Lee

  • Michael Lee grew up in Auburn, Alabama playing baseball and basketball.
  • While volunteering at a Biomechanics Lab at Auburn University, he learned about handball and wanted to get involved.
  • Soon after, he was named the captain of the USATH Junior National Team in 2016
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