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Get to know your college Olympian

Every day during the Olympics, SIOC will feature an Olympian who's also a college student. Today, Stanford senior and Team USA water polo player Jessica Steffens chats about Batman's spandex suit, beach volleyball and her team's pig collection.

This interview was conducted via e-mail before Olympic competition began. Team USA will play in the gold medal match after defeating Australia 9-8 on Monday.

Name: Jessica SteffensSchool: Stanford UniversityYear: SeniorAge: 21Major: Earth systems (environmental science)Olympic event: Women's water poloHometown: Danville, Calif.

What is the best part of being in the Olympics?I've heard so many great things about past Olympics, but each is unique so I hope to have an answer for you very soon.

How'd you get your start in your sport?I grew up playing soccer and swimming, but in high school I wanted to try something new. It turned out to be a good choice, I think.

Do you have any superstitions or good luck charms?We do have a pig collection. Each swim set, at least one pig is brought out to give us a little extra swimming strength. And Giggles, our mini travel pig, has come with us everywhere from Washington D.C. to China.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?Ten years ago, I didn't see myself here. I dreamt it, but didn't think it would actually happen and especially not for water polo! So I guess I should dream that I'll be saving the world, maybe that'll come true as well. Or, maybe I'll be 31 with brown hair and still tall.

If you could take part in any Olympic sport besides your own, what would it be?Beach Volleyball!

What's the best Olympic freebie you've gotten so far?All the awesome stuff we got at processing, especially everything with the Olympic rings on it.

What's your favorite kind of Chinese food, and how much of it are you planning on eating while you're in Beijing?Sweet & sour chicken, although I'll be eating whatever is provided for us in the village.

Is there anything you're hoping to see/do in China?Last time we were here, we climbed the Great Wall and had a day out in Beijing. So this time, I'm just excited to see the village and really take in the whole Olympic atmosphere.

What's your proudest accomplishment in your sport thus far, besides making it to Beijing?Besides making it to Beijing? That has to be No. 1.

How is an Olympic athlete treated on campus?There was an Olympic athlete in my freshman dorm (Whitney Ping, Ping Pong) and she is so down to earth I would never have known she played in Athens except for all the sweet gear she wears, so of course I tried the best I could to become friends with her. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I have so much respect for her and her perspectives of the Olympics. I just got an email from her, actually.

Better uniform: your school or Team USA?Well Nike is sponsoring both so...both? Although our Olympic gear is amazing. Anything with the rings is going to win over gear without them.

What are three movies, TV shows or bands you can't live without?Heroes, The Office and The Emperor's New Groove...all of which we have here.

Who is your favorite professional athlete?The Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh duo. I just saw them today so I'm feeling pretty special.

Who is your celebrity crush?In light of his most recent movie, Christian Bale. A crime-fighting man with morals in spandex armor, how could I resist?

Do you have any hobbies besides your sport?I always try to have hobbies, but they usually don't last long. So right now, water polo is my hobby.

Have you seen or played the new Beijing '08 video game?No! I had no idea there was one.

If you win a medal, what will you do with it?I haven't actually thought about it, but I probably wouldn't let it out of my sight for a very, very long time.

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