Going for Gold: Purdue Health and Human Sciences alumnae, student compete at Summer Olympics

By Tim Brouk, tbrouk@purdue.edu

The Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) will once again be represented at the Olympics. For the events in Tokyo this summer, two HHS alumnae and one current student will compete for the gold, and they will be backed by thousands of Boilermakers rooting for them around the world.

The Tokyo games begin July 23 and run through Aug. 8. Television coverage will be on NBC.

Annie Drews

Annie DrewsPurdue Athletics

Andrea “Annie” Drews

Hospitality and Tourism Management, class of 2015
Country: United States
Event: Volleyball
When: 9 a.m. Japanese Standard Time (JST) July 25, 8 p.m. EDT July 24

Background: At Purdue, Drews was a dominant All-America outside hitter, earning the nickname “Monster of the Big Ten.” After graduation, Drews joined several domestic and international teams (Italy, Turkey and Japan), earning numerous titles and individual accolades. She was a member of the 2017 USA Volleyball Cup team and multiple Fédération Internationale de Volleyball squads for the United States, including the 2019 team that earned her country a slot in the Tokyo Olympics.

It means a lot to me to represent our country. As America has not had an opportunity for indoor volleyball players to continue on professionally after college, all of us spend the majority of the year playing professionally abroad. As amazing as the opportunities abroad have been, it has given me and my teammates a special affinity for being in America and representing the United States,


Nikola Aćin

Nikola AćinPurdue Athletics

Nikola Aćin

Health and Kinesiology senior

Country: Serbia
Event: 4×100 swimming relay
When: 7 p.m. JST July 25, 6 a.m. EDT July 25 

Background: An international student from Serbia, Aćin has been a member of the Purdue Men’s Swimming & Diving team since his first year in West Lafayette. He has placed well in Big Ten Championships throughout his career as a Boilermaker, earning a silver medal at the 2018 events as well as NCAA All-American status. Aćin is the 37th Purdue athlete to compete in the Olympics.

When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I went to take some swimming classes, and the rest is history. I never left the pool after that. … I’m definitely excited to represent Purdue and Serbia at the same time,


Kara Winger

Kara WingerAaron Anderson

Kara Winger

Nutrition Science, class of 2009

Country: United States
Event: Athletics/Track and Field/Javelin
When: 9 a.m. JST Aug. 3, 8 p.m. EDT Aug. 2

Background: This is the fourth summer Olympics appearance for Winger, having thrown the javelin at the 2008 Beijing Games as a Purdue student and as an alumna at the 2012 London Games and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. She has earned silver and gold medals at the 2015 Toronto Pan American Games and the 2019 Lima Pan American Games, respectively. Winger broke the U.S. women’s record in javelin (66.67 meters) in 2010. At Purdue, Winger collected three Big Ten championships and two NCAA All-American honors.

It’s very satisfying. … Physically, I am there and ready to have my best Olympics, for sure,