LONDON -- You never know who you're going to run into over here. Early this afternoon, I was in the weight room of the U.S. training facility in East London, waiting to interview American super heavyweight lifter Holley Mangold -- yes, sister of the Jets' Pro Bowl center, Nick Mangold.
Suddenly, I noticed Jenn Suhr working out just a few feet away from me in the small weight room. Her husband and coach, Rick Suhr, joined her in the room. Jenn, the Fredonia native and pole vault star, went through a light workout, which included doing pullups on the eight-foot high bar and lifting herself upside down toward the ceiling, as she would during a vault. Pretty impressive stuff.
Other than two weighlifters, coaches and half a dozen press, the Suhrs were the only people in the room. I spoke with them briefly before having a nice half-hour chat with Mangold, one of the brighest and most charming athletes I've had the pleasure of interviewing.
After the interview, I looked up and saw a familar face standing in the doorway. It was Christian Laettner. The Angola native and original Dream Team is in London to do color commentary for Fox Sports. Laettner had poked his head in while waiting for the U.S. men's basketball team to arrive for practice.
It was pretty surreal, I have to say. What are the odds of two athletes dropping by during the weightlifting practice -- both of them from the Buffalo area? Until Jake Kaminski won silver in archery the other day, in fact, Laettner and Suhr had been the last two Buffalo athletes to win silver or gold medals at the Summer Games.