Podcast: Road to Paris 2024 with CPT Sammy Sullivan ’20

Category: Grad News
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Join us as we sit down with the inspiring Sammy Sullivan class of 2020, and member of the USA Women’s Olympic Rugby 7’s team!

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CPT Sullivan ’20 shares her unexpected journey to West Point to discover a passion for rugby, Sammy’s story is one of determination and resilience. Listen in as she recounts the unique experience of applying to West Point alongside her twin brother, both of whom were accepted, and how the supportive environment of the rugby team, encouraged by her father, led her to excel in a sport she had never previously considered.

Sammy is a graduate of Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, NC, Sammy first found rugby while attending Army West Point, one of the premier collegiate rugby programs. Sullivan was introduced to the game at Athletic Day, during basic training and thought she would give it a try, following in the footsteps of her father who also played. Rising through the rugby ranks, Sullivan was honored with the 2019 Prusmack Award, recognizing the top collegiate sevens athletes in the nation.

As part of the World Class Athlete Program, an initiative promoting active service members through sports careers, Sullivan followed graduation by entering the Women’s Premier League, sparking an impressive start to her fifteens career that resulted in a roster invite to the 2022 Pacific Four Series with the USA Women’s Eagles, debuting against Canada in June of that year.

Sullivan’s skill set also caught the eye of the USA Women’s Sevens, drawing her back to the sevens pitch and USA residency in the latter half of 2022. Sullivan would make her USA Sevens National Team debut during the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, before making her World Rugby Sevens Series debut in Dubai that December. Becoming one of only a few Eagle to debut in both disciplines in the same year.

In this episode, Sammy opens up about the rigorous training regimen of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) and the balance between her intense athletic pursuits and military duties. She provides valuable insights into maintaining a healthy relationship with nutrition and finding time for personal hobbies. Additionally, Sammy shares her advice for young girls chasing their dreams, emphasizing the importance of taking leaps of faith and seeking support. With stories of resilience, inter-gender boxing classes, and the dream of returning to West Point with an Olympic gold medal, this conversation is a testament to the power of perseverance and the impact of a strong support system.

Episode Timestamps

(00:42) Sammy’s Journey to West Point
(03:26) Transition from Soccer to Rugby
(06:33) Life at West Point and Rugby Experience
(08:38) Post-Graduation and WCAP Journey
(17:58) Balancing Life and Training
(22:29) Challenges and Motivation
(31:54) Advice for Aspiring Athletes


Learn more about Sammy

Support Team USA Women’s Rugby 7s team

““The advice I would give is to take the leap of faith because a lot of my life experiences, applying to West Point, trying for a spot on the USA Rugby team and ultimately getting named to the Olympic team, switching over to rugby has all been leaps of faith. I would encourage them, one door closing is another door opening for you and to continue to take up space and go for what you want, and let those around you, know your goals because ultimately you can try to get somewhere on your own, but it’s so much better and so much sweeter when you have the help of those around you pushing you and encouraging you.”

– Sammy Sullivan ’20

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The WPAOG Podcast is a strategic initiative focused on tailored audible communications to further inform Graduates on current AOG projects, events, and USMA updates. This customized content is mainly for USMA Alumni and the West Point Community solely produced by the West Point Association of Graduates. The Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Audible, YouTube Music, and iHeartRadio.

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