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Liz Short wrestles her way through life with USOEC program

MARQUETTE MICH. - Imagine this. It's 5:00 a.m. You're buried under three of your most comfortable blankets snug and warm, and then you hear it, that loud "beep, beep, beep!" It's time for United States Olympic Education Center athlete Liz Short to wake up and start another grueling day.

After hitting the snooze button a few times, Short is up by 5:15 a.m. She spends about a half hour getting ready and heads out the door.

Unlike most Northern Michigan University students, however, she isn't on her way to class. Instead, she is on her way to the first freestyle wrestling practice of the day. Only after an intense two-hour training session of running, weightlifting, rope climbing, pull ups, push ups and live wrestling, is it time to focus on academics.

The NMU senior athletic training major attends four hours of class, takes in an afternoon practice and heads to the PEIF's Care Clinic. She doesn't go to the clinic for her own treatment; however, she goes to help others. Short uses her time in the clinic to gain experience for her future career.

She evaluates members of the university community and provides primary treatment for sport and physical activity related injuries. Short plans to put her experience to use in her professional and athletic careers.

"Through athletic training, I am able to better understand how my body works and how my competitor's body works. I think this knowledge gives me an advantage on and off the mat," says Short.

For most students, dinner time signals the end of the day; they're ready to head home for the night. But for Short, it's back to school.

Following class, she takes a one-hour break for dinner and hits the books. She studies as long as she can, but finds her eyelids getting heavy after such a long, challenging day.

Aside from having a great support system, which she credits to her professors, coaches, family and the USOEC, she maintains an internal drive to help her get through each day.

"The thought of earning my degree and becoming an Olympic champion keeps me going. It is my motivation," she says.

Short's athletic and academic successes are the results of her hard work, but she's not the only athlete with dreams of Olympic gold and a college degree. About 90 resident USOEC athletes on the campus of NMU are striving to achieve their own academic and athletic goals.

To learn more about them and how to support their efforts, please go to
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