Olympic sketches: Tobin Heath

Tobin Heath, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Aug. 16, 2015. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

Tobin Heath, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Aug. 16, 2015. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

As part of its runup to the 2016 Summer Olympics, NBC is introducing fans to some of the athletes who will be representing the United States. The network is producing a series of short, online “Who is…” profiles.

In the case of the U.S. women’s soccer team, this could be tricky, since coach Jill Ellis has yet to name an Olympic roster. That could be why NBC has only profiled a few players so far. Maybe it decided to start with women who are locks to make the team — although that wouldn’t explain why there’s no “Who is … Alex Morgan?” or “Who is … Hope Solo?” or “Who is … Becky Sauerbrunn?”

Tobin Heath vs. Colombia, April 10, 2016. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

Tobin Heath vs. Colombia, April 10, 2016. (Eric Hartline/USA Today Sports)

In any case, as the profiles pop up on NBC’s Rio Olympics site — which is far better designed and more informative than the official Rio 2016 site — I’ll link to them here.

First up, one of my favorites:

Tobin Heath.

There’s not much depth to these profiles.

They’re quick sketches, really, seemingly aimed at casual fans, those who don’t follow women’s soccer or the U.S. team closely — if at all — but who might tune in because it’s the Olympics.

Still, even dedicated fans may find a few small nuggets.

Regarding Heath, for example, probably not a lot of people know:

• She started playing soccer at age 4, when her dad signed her up for a clinic at their hometown YMCA. She was the only girl there. She fell in love with the sport and has been at it ever since.

• At 20, she was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s team at the 2008 Olympics.

• She doesn’t have a house. Doesn’t have a permanent address. Heath thinks of herself as a nomad, living in hotels or staying with friends and relatives as the travels of the U.S. team take her from place to place.

• Her preferred mode of transportation is the skateboard.

Tobin Heath, 2006. (Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

Tobin Heath, 2006. (Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

 

 

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