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Why You Should Cheer for Denmark and Lithuania at the Olympics

The NC State swim team is sending an impressive amount of athletes to the Summer 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Out of the four Wolfpack swimmers, three are international students who will be representing their home countries of Denmark and Lithuania. Søren Dahl and Anton Ipsen will compete for Denmark, Simonas Bilis will compete for Lithuania and Ryan Held will swim for Team USA.

The international students were offered the chance to return to their home countries to train with the national teams, but passed it up to remain at NC State. “We are a huge family inside and outside of the pool. We train for each other each day and we have each others back on rough days when you need support. I honestly couldn’t have done it without the team,” said Ipsen. Bilis agrees that after training at NC State for four years, it feels like home. “Training here is more like home than back in Lithuania for me,” Bilis said at a recent media day.

Dahl says the swim team and people he’s met at NC State are the reasons he has gotten to this point. He also says that his experience as an international student has prepared him for the world stage of the Olympics. Like many international students, he has learned “how to adapt to a new culture, how to talk to new people and communicate with strangers, and has a better understanding of people, especially with different cultural backgrounds than my own. All of these skills will help me when I am going to be surrounded by people from all over the world in Rio.”

While you’re preparing to watch Team USA in August, make sure you look out for Denmark and Lithuania. This summer’s Olympic athletes are a great representation of the cultural diversity that makes NC State great. We know that all of our Olympic athletes will make our ‘Wolfpack World’ proud.


NC State ranks first in the state and 38th nationally in international student enrollment. 4,018 students from over 117 different countries called campus home last year.

The Global Training Initiative will be hosting an Olympic Viewing Party on August 15th.