Every day during the Olympics, SIOC will feature an Olympian who's also a college student. We're kicking things off with USC senior and Team USA soccer player Amy Rodriquez, who chats about her lucky green hair-band, her love of fried rice and her quest for Brad Pitt's phone number.
This Q&A was conducted via e-mail after Rodriquez arrived in Beijing, but before Olympic competition began.
Name: Amy Rodriguez
Olympic Event: Women's soccer
Hometown: Lake Forest, Calif.
What is the best part of being in the Olympics?
So far, the coolest part has been seeing all the signs and billboards posted up all around China. Everybody is preparing for the Olympics and to know that everybody is watching you and cheering for you is such an amazing feeling.
What's the best Olympic freebie you've gotten so far?
The plane ticket. Just coming here is an experience that I will never forget.
How'd you get your start in your sport?
I've been playing soccer since I was five-years-old. My parents probably thought of it as a great babysitting tool, but I ended up really enjoying it and have stuck with it ever since.
Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?
Normally I wear my lucky green hair-band while I play, but lately I haven't been sporting it. Instead, I've been wearing a red, white and blue one with stars on it in order to show my patriotism.
If you could take part in any Olympic sport besides your own, what would it be?
Swimming! Being a California girl, I love going to the pool and playing in the water. And an upside to being a swimmer is that you don't have to worry about sweating or smelling like dirty soccer cleats.
What's your favorite kind of Chinese food, and how much of it are you planning on eating while you're in Beijing?
Fried rice with soy sauce! Our trainers are constantly telling us to stock up on carbohydrates, which makes fried rice the perfect dish because it tastes great and helps me perform at the same time.
Is there anything you're hoping to see/do in China?
Win a gold medal of course! I'm hoping to stand on the podium with a big hunk of gold around my neck.
What's your proudest accomplishment in your sport thus far, besides making it to Beijing?
Winning an NCAA championship with my college team.
How is an Olympic athlete treated on campus?
I wouldn't know. I took the semester off of school in order to train for the National Team, so I haven't been on campus much lately.
Better uniform: USC or Team USA?
Team USA. When I wear the USA jersey I'm representing my school too.
What are three movies, TV shows or bands you can't live without?
I'm a huge fan of ESPN, Discovery Channel and TLC. I'm likely to watch any show that comes on any of those channels.
Who is your favorite professional athlete?
Michael Jordan. He and I share the same birthday, and I've always loved watching him play.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Matt Damon or Brad Pitt. If you could get me their number that would be great!
Do you have any hobbies besides your sport?
I really enjoy doing other people's hair. I have a younger sister whose hair I do all the time, so when I go on soccer trips with the National Team, I will usually braid girls' hair for the games.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Well I'm no psychic, but I would probably say playing soccer. Hopefully I have a lot of years left on the National Team, but if that doesn't work out, then I probably will focus on having a family and building a career. I would like to stay around soccer as long as possible, so if I have to join a Mom's soccer league, then I'll do it!
If you win a medal, what will you do with it?
Wear it everywhere I go! Then when my neck starts getting tired, I will probably put it at the top of my trophy case in front of all my other medals and trophies.