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Panther alumni head to Rio in search of Olympic gold

MIDDLEBURY — When the 31st Olympiad opened this past Friday in Rio de Janeiro, three Middlebury alumnae were slated to be among the athletes representing the United States of America.
Lea Davison ’05 and Megan Guarnier ’07 were prepared to compete in women’s cycling events, and Sarah Groff True ’04 will compete in the triathlon.
Lea Davison, 33, from Jericho, Vt., will race for Team USA in mountain biking on Saturday, Aug. 20, at Deodoro Pentathlon Park. A 2012 Olympian who finished in 11th place at the London Games, Davison has participated in seven mountain-biking world championships, including a 3rd-place finish in 2014 and a 10th-place finish last year.
A three-year member of the Alpine skiing team at Middlebury, Davison majored in environmental studies. Together with her sister Sabra ’07, the two Mount Mansfield Union High School graduates co-founded Little Bellas — a nonprofit, mountain-bike mentoring program for girls.
Megan Guarnier, 31, from Glens Falls, N.Y., vied for an Olympic medal in women’s cycling on Rio’s 85-mile road course; the race was scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 7. She qualified for Team USA by winning the bronze medal at the 2015 UCI Road World Championship last fall. It capped off a remarkable year for Guarnier, who finished 3rd overall in the Tour d’Italy and won the Ladies Tour of Norway. Earlier this year she won the gold medal at the Tour d’Italy.
A neuroscience major at Middlebury, Guarnier graduated summa cum laude and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Sarah Groff True, 34, from Hanover, N.H., will compete in the women’s triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 20, at Copacabana Beach. True finished 4th at the 2012 Olympics — just 10 seconds behind the bronze medal winner — and she ended the 2015 World Triathlon Series season ranked third in the world. The Olympic triathlon consists of a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike ride, and 10 km run.
As a varsity swimmer at Middlebury, True won the 2004 NESCAC 1,650-meter freestyle (17:37.12) and was a member of the 2004 800-meter freestyle relay team that took 3rd place (7:42.31) at the NCAA championships. True majored in conservation biology and studio art, and graduated cum laude. Her husband, Ben True, just missed qualifying for the Olympics when he finished fifth in the 5,000-meter run at last month’s trials.
Throughout its history, Middlebury College has produced approximately 30 Olympians — the vast majority of whom competed in Alpine or Nordic skiing at the Winter Olympics. The Department of Athletics has compiled a list of Middlebury Olympians. 

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