The opportunity to participate in the Olympics is the dream of athletes throughout the world. It is also the dream for many behind the scenes. Loras College alum Jacque Scaramella was fortunate to earn such an opportunity.
Scaramella, registered dietitian and sports dietetic consultant for the United States Olympic Committee, was selected to support the United States Men’s and Women’s Volleyball teams during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She also supports several of the Paralympic teams.
Scaramella’s role was especially important because the volleyball venue was quite far from the Olympic Village resulting in the teams staying outside of the Village and therefore with limited support and resources. Her main goals were the continuation of performance nutrition services that the athletes are accustomed to back at their training center, and to help facilitate continued habits with hydration, fueling and recovery while training and competing. Her other responsibilities included, provision of safe and performance-friendly meals, minimizing illness and injury and preparing appropriate nutrition to support training and match day needs.
“The ability to make an impact on Olympic performance through nutrition was a professional goal and a personal achievement,” said Scaramella. “It was an unbelievable experience to watch the teams I support win medals and realize you had a part in that.”
Scaramella was a 2007 sport management graduate, where she completed her required internship with the Chicago Sky WNBA franchise, and a golf student-athlete while at Loras. She received her master’s degree in nutritional science at California State University, Long Beach and reflected on her experience at Loras.
“My liberal arts education at Loras College and the completion of my sport management degree helped pave the way for me into my current line of work. My education at Loras allowed me to further develop the skills necessary to succeed in my career and helped me get to where I am today.”