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Olympic spotlight: Katinka Hosszu

USC's Katinka Hosszu will represent Hungary
Katinka Hosszu takes a third crack at a medal at the London Games this month. (Photo/Chris McGrath, Getty Images)

Hungary native Katinka Hosszu is a two-time Olympian, World Championships gold medalist, three-time NCAA title winner at USC and 13-time All-American. She heads to the Summer Olympics in London this month.

JM: You are officially a veteran of the Olympic Games, as this will be your third crack at a medal. How will your approach be different heading into London this summer?

KH: I just know what it takes be competitive at the Olympics now and maybe more importantly I know the schedule, what it’s like to live in the Olympic village and what it’s like competing with the whole world watching. There’s nothing I could experience this time around that I haven’t already seen during my previous Olympic opportunities. I remember in Beijing being awestruck at the site of Kobe Bryant eating in the same cafeteria as I was in. Not this time around.

JM: You have four years to get ready between Olympics, but what changes once the calendar hits 2012?

KH: I think I recognize the level of preparation it takes in the year before the games begin. It’s just different. My focus is, of course, to help our team at USC be as successful as it can be. It helps a lot, though, having several great swimmers on the team who are trying to compete for a spot in London. We recognize that it’s about doing the little things. There are times when it’s an early morning and it’s cold outside, and I’d rather be in bed. But I always think there’s probably a girl in China working hard right now to be the best. And I want to beat her.

JM: What would it mean for you to win a medal for Hungary?

KH: I love swimming here at USC and in the United States. But Hungary is my home country, and it will always be my home country. I have a lot of friends and family rooting me on from back there. My goal is to improve from my previous two trips to the Olympics, but obviously earning a medal is the ultimate goal. It would mean so much.

JM: How would you go about growing the sport of swimming?

KH: It’s tough because most people turn it on every four years and that’s it. I don’t think it’s anything I can specifically do myself. I am always inviting people to come to our dual meets here, and that’s a positive step. International swimming is what people know, but it’s also important that we try to get people excited about swimming at the NCAA level. There is no real answer or strategy. It’s something we are aware but are still unsure how to solve it. All I can do is compete like I know how to and hope people enjoy watching it.

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Olympic spotlight: Katinka Hosszu

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