Experience Of A Lifetime

Nov. 22, 2000


Logan Tom
Sport: Women's Volleyball
Year: Sophomore
Position: Outside Hitter
Height: 6-1
Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT
High School: Highland
Major: Undeclared

She likes to go shopping in her spare time. She likes to go to the movies - all kinds, just depends on her mood. She likes spending time hanging out with her friends. She likes all the things any normal college student would like.

And she just happens to be a 19 year-old Olympian.

Logan Tom, a sophomore volleyball player here at Stanford, spent around eight months training and competing with the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. She was an integral part of the team's surprise fourth-place showing in Sydney. In fact, she was the only current college player on the 12-player roster. It was the experience of a lifetime for this Stanford athlete.

The opening ceremony was Tom's first real taste of the Sydney Olympics.

'We wore these blue polyester skirts with a red jacket,' Tom recalled. 'I think my shoes were three sizes too big, and I was flopping around in them. Then we wore these big white cowboy hats - I hear we looked really good on T.V.

'I remember not being able to really see the people in the stands - just bright lights,' she continued. 'I was walking with Kerri Walsh and Stacy Sykora. I just looked around, all wide-eyed, and got the chills.'

Tom also noted that everyone in the stadium was affected by Australian Cathy Freeman's lighting of the Olympic torch.

'All of the emotion she was feeling sort of flowed out into the crowd,' Tom said. 'Everyone got teary-eyed. Cathy's lighting of the torch was so symbolic.'

And then there was the actual competition.

'There was a rush of anxiety right before you took the court,' she said. 'The lights were so bright and the people were going nuts. Every time we played, it felt like I was experiencing it for the first time.'

Tom hopes to make a return trip to the land down under and tour the Outback.

'I never got to see a koala or a kangaroo while I was there,' she said. 'I hope to be able to get back there and really see the country. The people there are really friendly.'

So friendly in fact that Tom's mother, who traveled to Sydney to see her play, stayed with a host family while she was there.

'My host family was the sweetest,' she said with a smile. 'Camilla and Martin and their seven-year-old daughter Stephanie were wonderful. They would cook for me when I would come over and visit. It was great getting a home-cooked meal - I even tried veal for the first time.'

And the friendships she has made are the most important things to her.

'Every new team I play on, I build new friendships,' she said. 'I have friends all over the place now - from the national team, my high school and even Australia.'

Her travels with the national team have taken her to many exotic places such as Hong Kong and Brazil.

'Hong Kong was an awesome city,' noted Tom. 'It sits on the water and with the mountains in the background - it's a wonderful view. The city is really crowded but the people are nice.

'Brazil is a country with a lot of culture and they really support volleyball. It's the second biggest sport behind soccer.'

But for all of the extensive traveling she has done with volleyball, she would still like to grab her backpack and really see the places she's been to.

'I really want to backpack through Europe,' said Tom. 'You don't get to truly experience a city or country traveling with volleyball. You might get a day or two to wander around or maybe get to go out in the evenings after practice. I want to go to France and Italy and just explore the countryside.'


Stanford Athletics Highlights:
One of the top women's volleyball players in Stanford history in her first two years on The Farm...Having an incredible sophomore season, averaging 5.69 kills and 3.10 digs, while hitting .348 (273-75-569) in only 48 games after missing Stanford's first 15 matches while playing for the U.S. National team at the 2000 Olympic Games...Only Stanford women's volleyball player to have competed in the Olympic Games and then returned to compete for the Cardinal...A two-time All-Pac-10 First Team selection after earning the honor for the second straight year earlier this week...Had a huge freshman campaign, helping to lead the Cardinal to an NCAA runner-up finish...The only freshman on the 1999 AVCA First Team All-American squad and only the fourth freshman to ever be named to the team...Selected National Freshman of the Year in 1999 by Volleyball Magazine and Asics/Volleyball...AVCA District 8 and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year...Earned spots on the Pacific Regional and NCAA Final Four All-Tournament teams...Led the Cardinal and ranked second in the Pac-10 in both kills (4.63 kpg) and service aces (0.45 sapg) as a freshman, adding a .320 attack percentage and an 0.94 block per game average.

Tom has made a name for herself internationally, nationally and on the collegiate level. As a freshman in 1999, she was an AVCA First Team All-American as well as a First Team All-Pac-10 selection. The 6-1 outside hitter was named both National and Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. She led the Cardinal and ranked second in the league in both kills (4.63 kpg) and service aces (0.45 sapg). Her 46 total service aces ranked fourth on Stanford's all-time single-season list. Tom has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Women and in ESPN Magazine.

In the short time she has been back with the Stanford team in 2000, she has led the squad in kills every match and recorded double figures in kills 14 consecutive times. The 6-1 outside hitter is averaging over five kills per game (5.69) as well as 3.10 digs. She was recently tabbed as a All-Pac-10 selection for the second consecutive year.

But don't forget that she's still just Logan Tom - a teenager from Salt Lake City, Utah - a Stanford student - an athlete.

'I like to go out and have fun like any normal college kid,' she said with a smile. 'I'm not different from anyone else.'

Well, almost.

by Aimee Dombroski

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