There’s a Red Storm Brewing at Olympics

Marsha Horan

Watch out Rio de Janeiro! There’s a storm brewing – not a typical storm, but instead a “red storm.”

A contingent of former athletes and current coaches from St. John’s University, Jamaica, have made the trip to Rio to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The school is represented by four alumni athletes competing for three different countries and three coaches/managers.

The St. John’s fencing and track and field teams have been a major part of the Olympics in recent years, sending at least a pair of Red Storm alumni to each of the last two Summer Olympics.


Former St. John’s fencers Dagmara Wozniak and Daryl Homer will compete in the women’s and men’s saber competitions, respectively, representing Team USA. The Red Storm’s fencing coach, Yury Gelman, is participating in his fifth straight Olympics with USA Fencing.

Wozniak, making her third straight Olympics appearance, finished in eighth place in women’s individual saber at the 2012 games in London. She is currently the No. 3 ranked U.S. fencer.

Alien Pompey

Most recently, she won gold with the women’s saber team at the 2016 Pan American Senior Championships. While at St. John’s, Wozniak was a four-time All-American and earned two bronze medals at the NCAA Championships.

Homer made his Olympic debut in London in 2012, competing and finishing sixth in men’s individual saber – marking the highest finish by an American since 1984. He also finished in eighth place in the saber team event.

The No. 2 ranked U.S. fencer was the first American male to win a silver medal in saber at the Senior World Championships in 2015. For the Red Storm, he was a four-time NCAA All-American and graduated in 2013. He won NCAA championships in 2010 and 2011.

Gelman made his Olympic debut at the 2004 games in Athens, guiding the men’s saber team to a fourth place finish. He coached Wozniak and Homer at the 2012 games in London and will now do so again in Rio.

At the 2008 Beijing Games under his watch, the men’s saber team had its best-ever finish after winning a silver medal.

Gelman has coached fencing at St. John’s for 21 years and led the Red Storm to a national championship in 2001. The U.S. Fencing Hall of Famer has coached more than 100 All-Americans and 22 individual NCAA champions – more than any other school during that period.

Track and Field

Priscilla Frederick

In track and field, former student-athletes Priscilla Frederick and Jane Vongvorachoti will represent St. John’s. Alumna Marsha Horan is serving as head manager for Team USA women’s track and field, and current Red Storm sprints and hurdles coach Aliann Pompey is an assistant manager for the Guyanese track squad.

Frederick, a 2012 St. John’s graduate, is set to compete in her first Olympic Games in the high jump for Antigua and Barbuda. She was a four-time collegiate All-American and owns the school’s indoor and outdoor high jump records. She also is the Antigua and Barbuda national record holder.

Frederick set her personal best height of 1.91 meters last summer, winning a silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games while representing Antigua and Barbuda.

Vongvorachoti will compete in the marathon representing Thailand. The first-time Olympian became the first Thai distance runner to ever qualify for the Olympics.

She is an 11-time Thai national record holder, including the marathon and half-marathon races. At St. John’s, she ran track and played soccer for the Red Storm.

Jane Vongvorachoti

Horan, in her first Olympics as Team USA women’s head manager, is a 17-year veteran coach who has served as a Team USA staff manager for 12 international junior and senior teams.

She represents women’s track and field on the USA Track and Field Women’s Executive Committee and serves as the Women’s Standards Chair. In the early 1990s, she long jumped and triple jumped for St. John’s.

Pompey, a four-time Olympian who ran the 400-meter, is representing Guyana as a staff member for the first time.

The current St. John’s sprints and hurdles coach is a former NCAA 400-meter champion. She ran a personal best time of 50.71 seconds at the 2009 World Track Championships.

The games continue through Aug. 21. To follow the progress of the Red Storm representatives, follow @StJohnsRedStorm on Twitter and use the hashtag #RedinRio.

Photos courtesy St. John’s University Athletic Communications

Contact Jim Mancari via email at