Beijing attack claims father of Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman

The UCLA community offers its condolences to Bruins alumna Elisabeth Bachman on the death of her father and sends hopeful wishes for her mother's recovery from injuries.
News accounts report that a Chinese man with a knife attacked Todd and Barbara Bachman, of Lakeville, Minn, at the landmark Drum Tower in Beijing. The assailant then jumped to his death from the tower, five miles from the Olympic Village. Authorities have given no motive for the attack.
Elisabeth Bachman was with her parents at the time of the attack but did not suffer injuries.
Bachmans at Athens Olympics in 2004Known as Wiz in the volleyball community, she was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team in Athens and is married to Hugh McCutcheon, coach of the U.S. men's volleyball team in Beijing. She was captain of the UCLA volleyball team for three years and was selected as the team's Most Valuable Player in 2000.
President Bush, in China for the Games, spoke with reporters and said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And the United States government has offered to provide any assistance the family needs."
The American women were woken up and told the news before they defeated Japan Saturday in a preliminary match. They huddled on the court briefly after the match, some of the players in tears.
"You have to understand what Liz Bachman is to USA Volleyball," Olympian Stacy Sykora told the Associated Press. "She’s probably the nicest person in the entire world, her and her family. Her family is like our family because they traveled with us, she fought in the 2004 Olympics with us, she was my roommate in 2004."
"It is impossible to describe the depth of our sadness and shock in this tragic hour," U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth said in a statement on the USOC website. "Our delegation comes to the Games as a family, and when one member of our family suffers a loss, we all grieve with them. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with the Bachman and McCutcheon families."
UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski said Saturday that "Todd and Barb have been two of the most supportive and friendly people (parents) that I have ever encountered. They have a genuine knack for making everyone welcome and continued their support of UCLA volleyball even after Wiz graduated.
"We are all in a state of shock here at UCLA. My heart goes out to Wiz and her husband Hugh and we will support them in any way possible."
Los Angeles Times | Blog
Associated Press
UCLA Sports release
USA Volleyball profile
Volleyball community stunned
Photo of Barbara, Elisabeth and Todd Bachman at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, released by the family.
On-topic comments that add to the discussion are welcome. Please respect each other and the forum by using your real name and a civil tone. Spam and comments judged by UCLA to be libelous, offensive or abusive may be deleted without notice


Jeff Lebow says:

My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this horrible act of violence. That said, I question whether this horrible deed was indeed a random act by a deranged individual, or a misguided response to an unknown harm done to this man's family as a result of the Chinese government's policy of clearing neighborhoods to prepare for the games. The bulldozing of homes and displacement policies may have triggered extreme resentment which could have been a catalyst for this "senseless" act. There is a huge Olympics story that has never and most likely will never be told. My point is not to excuse, but to try to understand what really happened. This has nothing to do with Tibet, which has it's own culture and history regardless of what China supporters claim. It is unfortunate that wars of aggression by the United States have removed any moral standings from which we can effectively challenge illegal occupations.

Mengya Li says:

My condolences for Mrs. Bachman and her family, and I hope the criminal will be caught soon. I have confidence that the Chinese authorities will deal with him accordingly. ------------------------- Re: Professor Sanford Jacoby Mr. Professor, what does Tibet have to do with this? Are you suggesting that Mrs. Bachman ought to add her name to the list of all the other well-meaning I'm sure, but nonetheless ignorant and self-righteous, spot-light seeking people who wish to look and feel good about themselves by supporting a 'hip' cause that really is basically a bunch of rubbish? The USA has the least credibility to speak on the issue of Tibet considering the root of it can be linked to the fact that it was the CIA who supported the Tibetan independence movement and put the Dalai Lama on their payroll to be a thorn in China's side simply because the USA can't stand that China's a communist country. It's not as if the CIA actually gave two cents about the actual wellfare of Tibetans, unlike the Beijing government who has spent millions building infrastructure (schools, roads, hospitals, etc.) there and upholding their economy, not to mention abolishing the slavery and serfdom system that was in place under the theocratic rule of the Dalai Lama.

Dixie G Sinkovits says:

As a Bruin and frequent Olympics attendee, I thank all for not passing judgement on the man that caused such sorrow to members of our Bruin family. China, being China, there will be consequences for the family of this man, for bringing such a shame to the country at this its "best hour," even though they might be not involved in this tragedy. My thoughts are also with them.

Dad says:

Did you hear about the man that was attacked and killed in Beijing at the Olympics this year? I just read that he was the father of a former UCLA Bruin volleyball player and olympian. I didn't realize it.

Professor Sanford Jacoby, UCLA says:

I hope our Bruins in Beijing reflect on the following item that appeared in the New York Times: August 8, 2008 Athletes Ask Hu to Act on Tibet and Human Rights More than one hundred current and former Olympic athletes, including several world-record holders and gold-medal favorites in track and field, have published an open letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao urging him to seek peace in Tibet and safeguard human rights in China. The athletes include Dayron Robles, a Cuban who holds the world record in the 110-meter hurdles; Lolo Jones, an American who is the world indoor champion in the women’s 60-meter hurdles and a medal contender in the 100-meter hurdles, and LaShawn Merritt, an American medal contender in the 400 meters. The letter, published Wednesday in the International Herald-Tribune and online at, quotes the Olympic Charter’s admonition to athletes to “place sport at the service of harmonious development of man” and asks Hu to “respect human rights in China in order to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation.” The letter was supported by the International Campaign for Tibet and Amnesty International, and many of the signatures were collected in June at a meeting of athletes in Berlin, according to Kate Saunders, communications director for the International Campaign for Tibet. “Many of them were very enthusiastic and supportive,” Saunders said. Whether athletes will use the Olympics to speak out about human rights and other issues has been the topic of speculation for months, especially since competitors are banned from making political statements or protests at Olympic venues. Saunders said the letter does not violate the rule because it did not take place at the Olympics, and she noted that the International Olympic Committee has said athletes should be allowed to express their opinions outside of Olympic venues. However, she said that one athlete – the Croatian high jumper Blanka Vlasic – asked Sports for Peace to remove her name from the list. “The request does seem to reflect the environment of censorship and repression that is surrounding this year’s games,”

Minrui says:

I'm a chinese. As far as I know, many chinese people are sorry to hear the attack. This kind of things seldom happen in Beijing. I hope Mrs.Bachman will recover soon! best wishes!

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