UH Offers Story Ideas, Experts for 2018 Winter Olympics

While the athletes are going for the gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the University of Houston is covering the games from several angles. For your story planning purposes, UH is making these experts available on the topics below.


Zachary Zwald, instructional assistant professor of political science: Zwald’s research focuses on nuclear weapons and deterrence, with a Department of Defense-funded project examining whether a decision-maker's level of experience with military operations and nuclear deterrence (or lack thereof) makes them more inclined to pursue risky, and potentially destabilizing, measures under the tense conditions of deterrence bargaining.

The relationship between North and South Korea and the United States is in flux, he said. “There is more uncertainty and, thus, greater opportunity for movement toward or away from conflict than at any time in the last 25 years. It seems the Olympics has provided a necessary respite from the growing tensions, and it will be interesting to see if this time leads to a course correction once the games are over.” Media Contact: Jeannie Kever at 713.743.0778 or jekever@uh.edu


Billy Hawkins, professor in department of Health and Human Performance: Hawkins’ research focuses on sociology of sport and cultural studies. Hawkins can speak about the controversy over the flag bearer selection process surrounding speedskater Shani Davis and how sports is being used as a platform to address social justice issues. Media Contact: Sara Tubbs at 713.743.4248 or sstubbs2@uh.edu


Rheeda Walker, associate professor of clinical psychology and director of the Culture, Risk and Resilience Lab: Walker can address the psychology of identifying with and supporting athletes who represent the United States and how fans maintain their enthusiasm in spite of outcomes that may not be positive. She is an expert in resiliency of the mind and it’s almost inexplicable ability to bounce from watching a win or a loss and coming out fine on the other end. Media Contact: Laurie Fickman at 713.743.8454 or lafickman@uh.edu


Two former University of Houston sprinters, Seun Adigun and Ngozi Onwumere are making history twice! They are UH’s first winter Olympians and are competing as members of Nigeria’s first-ever bobsled team. Carl Lewis, assistant coach of the UH Track & Field Team and 10-time Olympic medalist can talk about their transition from the track to the ice and how their talents as runners could help them win a medal. Media Contact: Sara Tubbs at 713.743.4248 or sstubbs2@uh.edu


Stephen Barth, professor & attorney at the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management: Barth has more than two decades of experience in hospitality operations including hotels, restaurants and large venues. He is a well-recognized security expert who can address the large-scale security operations at the Olympics or any legal issues. Barth is a highly sought-after speaker who has addressed more than 200 organizations and hotels around the world. He is also the founder of HospitalityLawyer.com. Media Contact: Chris Stipes at 713.743.8186 or cdstipes@uh.edu 

The University of Houston offers live high definition broadcast interviews through our ReadyCam broadcast studio. Located on campus, the digital studio can connect UH experts with networks 24/7.