This Saturday, Jasper Green ‘22 will be putting on the USA jersey at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires. The Youth Olympic Games are organized by the International Olympic Committee and are held once every four years. While raised in London, Jasper was born in California and played on the High School All-American team throughout his time in high school at Saint Paul’s School (UK). During his brief time at Dartmouth so far, Jasper played a big role in the first three matches and scored some remarkable tries showing off his skill and athleticism. Before the competition gets started, we were able to ask a few questions to Jasper…
How was the training camp at the Olympic Training Center at Chula Vista?
Chula Vista training camp was a week of intense training week in which we topped up our strength and conditioning, as well as honing our cohesion as a team and specific individual skills. It was rewarding to watch 6 months of training begin to accumulate into a threatening team. The men’s team that we trained with helped to simulate the type of top-class skill and athleticism we would face in teams like France and South Africa. Although I was injured with a quad tear for the first week and a half, the top-class facilities and staff available helped to expedite my recovery. Madison Hughs and Ben Pinkleman were extremely helpful in explaining how to avoid the pitfalls they faced in Rio 2016, and how to deal with media and external distractions.
What position are you playing and how does the team look?
I have been playing edge prop and wing. The team looks to be a threatening outfit with a combination of speedsters, big men, and steppers, who could be key to unlocking an international defence. The defensive aggression and the restart piece of the game have become the cornerstone of the men's continued success remain the main areas of focus in the U18 side.
What is the experience like at the Youth Olympics?
The ability to walk around and see tracksuits brandishing every country from around the world fills me with intense national pride. In no other situation have I been stopped at almost every corner to take pictures with everyone from senior citizens to children. Buenos Aires provides an incredible atmosphere for the games as lines to attend events spill out from the venues for a number of blocks. The opening ceremony and the Olympic village and venues themselves reveal the stature of the event that still hasn’t really sunken in.
How does it feel to represent the USA?
It’s an incredible honour to be able to wear the “team USA” kit and the red, white, and blue. There is a certain responsibility that is attached to wearing the name of the most successful country in Olympic history. The name is recognisable and being a part of the history is an incredible experience. To have the chance to further improve on the stellar record of the team is an opportunity that we feel we must grab tightly.
What are you looking forward to going into Saturday?
The chance to test yourself against the best in the world is something I believed that I would never get to do, while I was playing schoolboy rugby. Rubbing shoulders with professionals and stars of the future will be an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere created by the crowd will also be an alien experience to playing at home and will test the grit and steel of the team to its limits.