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Summer 2003
Field of Dreams
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For UCLA’s student-athletes, balancing athletic and academic excellence while maintaining a tradition of high standards is a challenge both on and off the field.

By Carl Marziali
Illustration by Istvan Banyai

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, winning is not everything for UCLA women’s gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field.

“If you believe the hype of a win, it’s a very shallow feeling,” she says.

This from a coach whose teams in the past seven years have won four national championships, six regional titles and five Pac-10 championships. What, then, does she believe is more important for a student-athlete than winning?

Integrity. Honesty. Standards.

“Student-athletes who win a national championship but who don’t care about anything else in their lives — their academics or their social lives — may experience the thrill of winning, but it’s not a lasting feeling of success,” says Kondos Field ’87, sitting high in the stands of Pauley Pavilion surrounded by the blue and gold banners of Bruin national-championship teams.

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