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Expert Alert.

Expert Alert

U of M experts available to discuss various political, societal and economic aspects of 2012 Summer Olympics

July 27, 2012

With the world’s top athletes from more than 200 countries set to compete at the 2012 Summer Olympics, the Games offer a fascinating portal to examine various political, societal and economic issues often highlighted by this global event. From an athlete’s gender to the food they eat and uniforms they wear, from the flags they wave to the fans that cheer them on and companies that endorse them, Olympic athletes represent subplots to stories that resonate throughout London and beyond.

The following University of Minnesota experts are available to speak with media about various aspects of the 2012 Summer Olympics:

Olympic uniforms and apparel

Elizabeth (Missy) Bye, Ph.D.
Professor, Apparel Design Program, College of Design

Bye is the department head for the university’s Apparel Design Program and is involved with the Innovations Studio in the College of Design’s Wearable Product Design Center. Her expertise is in sizing and fit, high tech/high touch and apparel technology.

Women in the Olympics

Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D.
Professor, Sport Sociology, School of Kinesiology; Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport
As director of the Tucker Center, the first and only university-based institute for research on girls and women in sport in the nation, Kane is a nationally renowned expert on Title IX. She can speak to the evolution of the United States Olympic team that, for the first time, features more female athletes than male. Kane is also an expert on media coverage given to female athletes.

Sports psychology; women in the Olympics

Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D.
Lecturer, Sport and Exercise Psychology and Sport Sociology, School of Kinesiology; Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport
LaVoi’s multidisciplinary research includes sport psychology, psychology of coaching and coaching science, factors that influence optimal performance, team cohesion, youth and child development, moral development and women’s sport. Her expertise also includes Olympic media coverage and Title IX. LaVoi is also the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Consortium.

Fueling High-Performance Athletes

Carrie Peterson, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

A sports nutritionist who advises high-performance and professional athletes on healthy eating, Peterson directs the internship program for graduate students in the university’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition. She is the sports nutritionist for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings, Wild, Timberwolves and Lynx, working with athletes on meal plans, weight gain, weight loss and body-fat management. She also holds CSSD (certified specialist in sports dietetics) distinction, a process that only a few registered dietitians complete.

Israeli-Palestinian Relations and the Olympic Stage

James Ron, Ph.D.

Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science
The Harold E. Stassen Chair of International Affairs, Ron can speak about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and how those tensions may play out at the London Games, especially, concerning the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre that took place during the 1972 Summer Olympics. Ron spent 16 years in Israel (1977-93) and worked for the Associated Press in Jerusalem and for Human Rights Watch in Israel, Palestine, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Albania. He earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California Berkeley.

Olympic marketing and branding; fan behavior

Stephen Ross, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Sport Management, School of Kinesiology
An expert in sport branding and marketing, Ross can speak to the marketing and sponsorship of the London Olympic Games as a whole. He can also examine branding, marketing and endorsement opportunities for individual athletes. Ross is well versed in sport consumer psychology, television and media rights and spectator behavior.

To schedule interviews, please contact Matt Hodson, University News Service, at (612) 625-0552 or; or, Julie Christensen, University News Service at (612) 626-1720 or

For a list of University of Minnesota experts available to speak about the science behind the 2012 Summer Olympics, please click here.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit Views expressed by experts do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

Tags: College of Design, College of Education and Human Development, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

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