The Profile: The podcaster who turned sex advice into big business & the Olympic heir to Michael Phelps
Here are the 10 U.S. colleges that will be best-represented at the Olympic Games.
Good morning, friends.
In March of 2020, Brooke Forde packed up and left campus as Stanford University and colleges around the nation paused in-person classes due to a global pandemic.
Then, she found out something else was being put on hold: The 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Forde, a student at Stanford, had also been a first-time Olympic hopeful. The last few months have served as a stress test for the 22-year-old swimmer, whose road to Tokyo has anything but straightforward. She overcame two COVID-19 scares, a mid-meet panic attack, and a nerve-wracking Olympic Trials experience.
Despite it all, she ultimately secured a spot on Team USA at the Olympic Games and got to say: "I’m Brooke Forde, and I’m a Tokyo Olympian.”
Joining her in Tokyo will be 31 other current and former Stanford athletes — among them swimmers Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, Torri Huske, and Regan Smith.
Stanford students and alumni will participate in swimming, water polo, sailing, rowing, volleyball, gymnastics, cycling, soccer, fencing, and track & field this year, according to information provided to The Profile by the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The university has produced at least one medalist in every Olympics in which the U.S. has competed since 1912, including a school-record 27 medals in 2016.
More than 75% of the 2020 U.S. Olympic team competed in collegiate athletics at the varsity and club levels.
Here are the 10 U.S. colleges that will be best-represented at the Olympic Games:
10. University of Notre Dame
Number of athletes: 10
Events: Fencing, basketball, and track & field
Athlete Spotlight:Mariel Zagunis, a Notre Dame alumna, is the most decorated U.S. fencer of all time. A two-time Olympic gold medalist, Zagunis will embark on her fifth consecutive trip to the Olympics this year. "I've done a lot for my sport already," she says. "I'm not trying to prove anything to anybody except to myself that I'm still a good fencer and I'm capable of beating the best in the world and becoming Olympic champion once again." Read a profile on Zagunis here.
9. Penn State University
Number of athletes: 10
Events: Soccer, fencing, wrestling, volleyball, rugby, track & field
Athlete Spotlight: When she was growing up, Alyssa Naeher had dreams of making it to the WNBA. “If I’m being honest, basketball was my first love,” says Naeher, an '09 Penn State graduate. “I wanted to play basketball at UConn. We obviously didn’t really have a [pro women’s soccer league] of our own yet.” Today, Naeher has channeled that same passion into become a confident and record-setting goalkeeper for the Chicago Red Stars and United States Women's National Soccer Team. “The only thing I can control is my effort on the field — working hard, keeping my head down, being there, pushing myself, pushing my teammates, and trying to get better," she says. Read a profile on Naeher here.
8. University of Oregon
Number of athletes: 11
Events: Softball, baseball, and track & field
Athlete Spotlight: Freshman Micah Williams is University of Oregon's star sprinter. He has already won a national indoor championship after tying a school record with a 60-meter time of 6.49 seconds. Williams and fellow Olympian Cravon Gillespie became the first Oregon men's sprinters in program history to make the U.S. Olympic team. Read a profile on Williams here.
7. University of Florida
Number of athletes: 14
Events: Softball, basketball, swimming, baseball, and track & field
Athlete Spotlight: Caeleb Dressel has been called "swimming's reluctant star" for a reason. Dressel constantly draws comparisons to legendary Olympian Michael Phelps, and he couldn't be less interested in external expectations or comparisons. “I swim different events than Michael,” he says. “I’m not chasing someone else’s goals. I want to chase my own.” Dressel, who graduated from the University of Florida in 2018, has claimed 15 world championship medals, 13 of them gold, since 2017, making him one of the biggest stars in swimming. At the Tokyo Olympics, he is a favorite to win six gold medals for Team USA. Read a profile of Dressel here.
6. University of Georgia
Number of athletes: 15
Events: Swimming and track & field
Athlete Spotlight: Swimmer Allison Schmitt is an eight-time Olympic medalist with 4 golds, 2 silvers, and 2 bronzes. Schmitt qualified for her fourth Olympics, which puts her at one short of the record for American women’s swimming. Schmitt, who graduated from the University of Georgia in 2013, says, "This one is definitely the most emotional, and I think it’s special to be here at 31 [years old] and have everyone in the stands that’s here supporting me ... and have been along on this journey the past four years." Read a profile on Schmitt here.
5. University of Southern California
Number of athletes: 16
Events: Water polo, swimming, beach volleyball, volleyball (court), and track & field
Athlete Spotlight: Isaiah Jewett may be a track star at USC, but he's also a student who needs to complete his homework. In June, he qualified for his first Olympic Games after finishing second in the men's 800-meter run. In his post-race press conference, he revealed that although he was excited, he was also really worried about completing his 10-page paper that was due in just a few hours. “My legs feel really good. Mentally I’m tired. I need to sleep. I have a 10-page essay due tonight," he said. "I’m mentally trying to re-focus and get that done because it’s due tonight and my teacher didn’t give me an extension." He submitted his paper at 11:50 p.m. that night. Read a profile on Jewett here.
4. University of California, Berkeley
Number of athletes: 16
Events: Swimming, water polo, rowing, soccer, golf, rugby, table tennis, and softball
Athlete Spotlight: Twenty-four-year-old Collin Morikawa has already made history. Earlier this month, he became the first golfer in history to win his debut at two different major events. Additionally, he became the eighth golfer ever to win two majors before turning 25. More so than anything, Morikawa is really charismatic. Here's how writer Kyle Porter described him: "He's clean-cut and buttoned-up. He's fresh and likable. He has not made any public mistakes nor had to watch himself suffer." Morikawa is considered one of the top U.S. golfers set to compete at the Olympics. This '19 Cal graduate is definitely one to watch. Read a profile on Morikawa here.
3. University of Texas
Number of athletes: 16
Events: Diving, swimming, rowing, basketball, softball, volleyball (court), and track & field
Athlete Spotlight: Jordan Windle, who is returning for a fifth year at the University of Texas, executed a near perfect dive during the Olympic trials. After three attempts at qualifying for the Olympic Games, Windle's efforts finally paid off. Windle has a long history of not giving up, though. Born in Cambodia, Windle was placed in an orphanage about a year after his parents died tragically. Meanwhile, a retired naval officer named Jerry Windle wanted to start a family but struggled to adopt as a single, gay man in the U.S. He read about someone who had adopted a child from Cambodia, and five months later, he found and adopted Jordan, who had been suffering from malnutrition, scabies, intestinal parasites and severe infections. Today, the father-son duo are inseparable. "I hope that Jordan’s story, our story, inspires people to give children the opportunity to do amazing things," Jerry says. Read a profile on Windle here.
Number of athletes: 21
Events: Gymnastics, soccer, softball, baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball (court), beach volleyball, and water polo
Athlete Spotlight: Jordan Chiles has a lot going on in 2021. She is an incoming freshman at UCLA, and she's also a first-time Olympian competing alongside teammates including gymnastics legend Simone Biles. Chiles is expected to be a Tokyo breakout star three years after nearly quitting gymnastics. “I didn’t think the sport wanted me anymore,” she said. “So I went in the opposite direction.” She had lost all confidence and motivation — until she had a talk with Biles. Biles took on the role of Chiles’s big sister, repeating to her these three words: "You belong here." Read a profile on Chiles here.
1. Stanford University
Number of athletes: 32
Events: Swimming, artistic swimming, water polo, sailing, rowing, beach volleyball, volleyball (court), gymnastics, cycling, soccer, fencing, track & field
Athlete Spotlight: At the 2016 Olympics, Katie Ledecky was an incoming freshman at Stanford University. In 2021, she's a recent grad with a degree in psychology and a total of six Olympic medals (five gold, 1 silver). In the last year, the 24-year-old competitive swimmer has done more solo training than ever before. It makes the already unusual run-up to the Tokyo Olympics even more so for the most dominant swimmer on the planet. “The most important expectations are the ones that I have for myself,” she says. “I do a pretty good job of sticking to those and not seeing what kinds of medal counts or times that people are throwing out about what I could accomplish if everything goes perfectly.” Read a profile on Ledecky here.
— The Olympic heir to Michael Phelps [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The podcaster who turned sex advice into big business
— The man who filed more than 180 disability lawsuits
— The artist preparing for the role of a lifetime
— The therapist helping save troubled relationships
— The fitness giant revamping its brand
— The skateboarding startup that imploded
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The Olympic heir to Michael Phelps: Caeleb Dressel constantly draws comparisons to legendary Olympian Michael Phelps, and he couldn't be less interested in people’s expectations. “Whatever other people expect me to do, whatever they’re comparing me to, I don’t care,” he says. “I’m just trying to swim fast.” At the end of this long and strange Olympics, Dressel looks forward to coming home to his wife, his family, and his black Lab. Meet swimming's most reluctant star. (Sports Illustrated)
“He’s got his wife, his farm, and his dog. That’s all he needs."
The podcaster who turned sex advice into big business: Alex Cooper, the 26-year-old host of podcast Call Her Daddy, recently signed a blockbuster three-year contract with Spotify worth $60 million. The podcast falls somewhere in the category between raunchy sex talk and female empowerment, growing from 12,000 to two million downloads in only two months. The Spotify deal came about because of Cooper's understanding of female millennials, and also, well, sex sells. “In the beginning stages, how salacious I was, even if it was pissing people off, people were clicking on that,” she says. (WSJ) (Note: Three other profiles came out on Cooper if you want to read them here: Bustle, TIME, Refinery 29)
“In negotiations, I own the audience they all want.”
The man who filed more than 180 disability lawsuits: Albert Dytch, a 71-year-old man with muscular dystrophy, has filed more than 180 Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuits in California. With the support of a prolific lawyer, Dytch has sued restaurants, movie theaters, shops, and educational institutions. The businesses he sues see his serial litigation as a ploy for cash. He says it's a fight for accessibility. Are Dytch’s lawsuits merely moneymaking ventures? Or are they a necessary demand for justice? (The New York Times)
“The law is subsidizing me to correct things. Then I earn money to defray the exorbitant costs of being disabled.”
The artist preparing for the role of a lifetime: When Jennifer Hudson appeared for her American Idol audition, she announced that she would sing "Share Your Love with Me," popularized by Aretha Franklin. Now, 14 years later, Hudson will portray Franklin in Respect, a biographical musical drama film on the legendary R&B singer. Similar to Franklin, Hudson has had to navigate personal tragedy over the course of her time in the public eye. (Her mother, brother, and nephew were killed in 2008.) Both women have had a significant reluctance to discuss those topics with the media and public. (InStyle)
"I know, as a person who has suffered a lot of loss, I don't like having to talk to people who haven't lost anything."
The therapist helping save troubled relationships: Couples therapist Esther Perel believes that crises always operate as relationship accelerators. During the pandemic, we may have realized that: "Life is short. Life is fragile. Things could end any moment." In this longform Q&A, she talks about entering back into the world, the proliferation of the term “trauma,” fixing our work-as-identity problems, and why we need to retire the idea of the soulmate. (GQ)
"Happiness is an outcome, not a mandate, because the mandate of happiness makes you constantly have to wonder, "Am I happy? Am I happy enough? Could I be happier?"
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The fitness giant revamping its brand: Since its inception, CrossFit has been both heralded and derided for its intensity, in the gym and outside of it. The pandemic exposed flaws in the business plan, and then its founder made statements that many people considered racist. Now, a new owner has paid a whopping $200 million to buy the company in hopes of replicating its early success. Will he be able to return the gym brand to its roots? (The New Yorker)
“I didn’t do this for the money. The reason I’m doing this is because I’m completely in love with CrossFit and I want to bring it to other people.”
The skateboarding startup that imploded: Boosted was a beloved electric skateboard and scooter brand that caught the eye of celebrities like Kanye West and Tony Hawk. Although Boosted's brand was potent, the startup was losing focus. It had launched half a dozen models in just six years, on a shoestring budget. Then it was hit hard by the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods made in China, and a delayed electric scooter, and eventually ran out of money. This profile examines how the category-defining electric skateboard startup fell apart so quickly. (The Verge)
“We got stuck in this weird limbo land."
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AUDIO TO HEAR.
Julia Galef on how to change your mind: We're so focused on changing other people's minds to be congruent with our beliefs that we forget the most important person whose mind we can change is ourselves. In this podcast, Julia Galef, the co-founder of the Center for Applied Rationality, explains how we can become more open-minded by actively seeking out new evidence that may contradict our existing beliefs. (Link available to premium members.)
Colin O’Brady’s exploration of human potential: Colin O’Brady is an explorer and elite endurance athlete who has pushed the boundaries of what we understand to be possible. In this podcast, he delves into the mental framework that helps him achieve seemingly impossible athletic feats. It’s just about the mental as it is about the physical. (Link available to premium members.)
VIDEOS TO SEE.
Elon Musk on the merits of Bitcoin: Despite his prior comments about Bitcoin, billionaire Elon Musk disclosed that he personally owns the digital currency and has held it for a long time. “I would like to see bitcoin succeed," he said. In this panel conversation, Musk and two other panelists discuss their outlook on the future of bitcoin. (Link available to premium members.)
Ben Francis on building a billion-dollar apparel brand: Today, Gymshark is a global billion-dollar brand. But its humble operations started in a garage with an ambitious founder, a sewing machine, and a screen-printer. Ben Francis was delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut when he had an idea to start a small supplements business before moving into apparel. Gymshark clothing was initially sewn and screen-printed by Francis himself after his mom and grandmother taught him how to use a sewing machine. This is a must-watch. (Link available to premium members.)
Naomi Osaka on the price of success: For a long time, tennis sensation Naomi Osaka had tied winning matches to her self-worth. She would ask herself: "What am I if I'm not a good tennis player?" In this documentary, we see success as a double-edged sword — with the money and fame comes the impossible pressure of living up to the façade of perfection. (Link available to premium members.)