Pac-12 London Olympians: 255 and counting
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - With the XXX Olympiad officially getting underway today with the Opening Ceremonies in London, the Pac-12 has added 16 more athletes, coaches and other officials to the league's Olympics roster, raising the total number to 255. Athletes with Pac-12 ties will represent 44 countries in 18 sports throughout the London Games, which run through August 12.
The Pac-12's roster includes 121 athletes on Team USA, representing nearly a quarter of the U.S.'s official roster of 529 athletes. For the first time ever, the U.S. is sending 269 women athletes, more than the men's contingent, a first in the history of Team USA. Of those American women wearing red, white and blue for the next few weeks, 72 are from the Pac-12 (27 percent).
The Pac-12 has, by far, the most representation of any major conference in the nation. The Pac-12's contingent in track and field increased to 61 and will be competing for 20 countries. Swimming is second with 52 athletes from 28 countries. The water polo competition features the third-most Pac-12 athletes with 32, including 12 women named to the 13-player USA roster.
Every Pac-12 institution will be represented at the Olympic Games in London. Both STANFORD and USC send the largest number of coaches, athletes and coaches at 46, while CALIFORNIA's 45 Olympians is the third-best among Pac-12 institutions. The Trojans' and Golden Bears' contingent has the most countries represented with 18 apiece.
In 2008, the Pac-10 sent 259 athletes, coaches and support staff to the Beijing Games and won 89 medals (15 gold, 12 silver, 9 bronze). If the Conference had been one nation, it would have placed third among all participating countries in the final medal count and placed sixth in gold medal standings. At the conclusion of the Beijing Games, Forbes ranked five Pac-10 schools among "America's Top 10 Olympic Schools." Stanford topped the list, Cal and USC were tied for second, UCLA was No. 5 and Arizona was No. 7.
As shown by its superb Olympic tradition and excellence, Pac-12 institutions have proven to be breeding grounds for the world's top athletes. Starting this year, Pac -12 Networks will provide fans with unmatched and unprecedented coverage of these impressive Olympic-level athletes. Forty-five of the athletes (including incoming freshmen) and coaches will return to Pac-12 campuses to represent their schools.