Double Olympian discusses the opportunities in the sport in the U.S. and the impact that new coaches have had on the team’s development
The Circle is presented by former Hockeyroos player Ash Nelson and sponsored by Cheata Sports Bras
Podcast length: 30’15”
Ash Nelson’s guest this month is Team USA forward Michelle Vitesse who competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games where the team finished 12th and four years later in Rio where they finished 5th. In addition Michelle has a gold medal collection from the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games, 2014 Champions Challenge and 2017 World League. She describes herself as a bit hard-headed—a loud personality in a little body! We find out how her personality has evolved and effected her as an athlete, how she deals with changes especially with team coaches and her weirdest dream.
Reflecting on her Olympic debut in 2012 Michelle said:
“I think the real struggle for me was leaving that and feeling like that experience was almost traumatizing and I nearly walked away from the sport entirely…I chose to do it [continue] because I really did not want the last time I ever played to feel like such a defeat and I felt that there was so much more in me and I had the ability to create almost a better memory of the sport in my mind and I didn’t want that to be the last time so that was my decision making coming back from that.”
Michelle is nothing if not honest in her self appraisal:
“I’m a bit hard headed. I’m super type A and I’ll go in loud—a loud personality in this little body of mine. I looked in the mirror metaphorically and asked ‘who do you want to be, what do you want to do’. Do you want to be – for lack of a better word-an a**hole or do you not want to be?
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Name: Michelle Vittese
Sport: Field Hockey
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa.
Hometown: Cherry Hill, N.J.
High School: Camden Catholic (’08)
College: University of Virginia (’13)
Team/Club: Spirit of USA
• Rio 2016 Olympic Games (5th, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
• London 2012 Olympic Games (12th, London, England)
World Championship Experience
• 2017 – World League Final (Auckland, New Zealand)
• Gold – 2017 World League Semifinals (Johannesburg, South Africa)
• Gold – 2015 Pan American Games (Toronto, Canada)
• Gold – 2014 Champions Challenge (Glasgow, Scotland)
• Gold – 2011 Pan American Games (Guadalajara, Mexico)
• Silver – 2012 Champions Challenge I (Dublin, Ireland)
• Bronze – 2017 Pan American Cup (Lancaster, Pa.)
• Bronze – 2016 Champions Trophy (London, England)
• 4th – 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup (The Hague, The Netherlands)
• 5th – 2015 World League Round Semifinals (Valencia, Spain)
Other Career Highlights
• 2017 : The Hawke’s Bay Cup (4th, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand), Series against Ireland (Lancaster, Pa.)
• 2016: Series against Canada (Chula Vista, Calif.), Series against Chile (Lancaster, Pa.), Series against Holland (Hilversum, The Netherlands), Citi Rio Send-Off Series (Lancaster, Pa.)
• 2015: Series against Argentina (Lancaster, Pa.), 8 Nations Tournament (5th, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand), Series against Ireland (Lancaster, Pa.), Series against Great Britain (Marlow, England), Series against Japan (Lancaster, Pa.)
• 2011: Redshirted the 2011-12 season at UVa to compete with the U.S. Women’s National Team
• 2010: NFHCA first team All-American, First team All-American by womensfieldhockey.com, An All-ACC honoree, Named to ACC All-Tournament Team (UVa)
• 2009: Junior World Cup Team (Boston, Massachusetts), Participated on the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team in Youth Olympic Festival (Australia), NFHCA third team All-American, First team All-American by womensfieldhockey.com, An All-ACC selection, Selected to NCAA All-Tournament Team (UVa)
• 2008: Selected to the Junior Pan American Championships team but could not compete due to injury
• 2007: Named to the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team
Personal: Daughter of Mark and Pat Vittese…Has two sisters, Carissa and Tara, both played field hockey at the University of Virginia
In a strategic move displaying her dedication and determination to make the 2012 London Olympic Squad, Vittese put her academic pursuits on pause at the University of Virginia to focus entirely on making the National Team. Vittese’s decision paid off and she was recognized with the 2011 Player of the Year award. Vittese has proven her staying power as an aggressive attacker for Team USA and was a part of the 2014 Champions Challenge gold medal squad and the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup team that burst onto the international stage with a fourth place finish.