Penn State Senior Dancing in His First THON

Story posted February 18, 2021 in

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — THON is going to look much different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. However, that won’t take away the 46 hours of fun. One dancer in particular is going to take advantage of his final THON experience.

Avery Olah-Reiken (senior - Spanish with a business option) is representing the Sports Business Club for the Smeal College of Business and will be dancing in THON this year. He is one of 592 students participating in THON.

Olah-Reiken, the New Jersey native, joined the club during his freshman year and quickly got involved with its THON events. That is what hooked him back in February 2018—his first glimpse of the 46-hour dance marathon.

“The second I stepped into the [Bryce Jordan Center], I knew instantly that this was something special and that this was something that I wanted to be a part of,” Olah-Reiken said.

Olah-Reiken has a very special connection to THON. His grandmother passed away due to breast cancer in April 2018, which makes it more meaningful to him.

“I want to fight to make sure that no other family has to go through what my family had to go through,” Olah-Reiken said.

While Olah-Reiken was in the stands for his first THON, he’s now had the chance to meet his THON family and child Erica. Every Saturday, they go out to IHOP for breakfast and also like to go on hikes throughout the year.

Due to the pandemic, they have not been able to see each other face-to-face. Olah-Reiken Zooms with her every Sunday to play “Among Us.” 

THON is going to be taking place from the comfort of everyone’s home, but that still will not take away the energy and excitement that the marathon offers every year.


Jacob Cheris is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email

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