Pac-12 road to London paved with gold
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - On the final day of Olympic competition, Pac-12 athletes contributed to two more medals - a gold and a bronze - increasing the Conference's final medal count to 45. If the league were a nation, it would have ranked fifth in total medals, just ahead of Germany (44). The Pac-12's 19 gold medals would have ranked fifth among all countries.
Saturday it was about the women, and on Sunday, Pac-12 male athletes came through for medals. The U.S. men's basketball team followed through with expectations, claiming gold with a win over Spain, 107-100. The American men, with NBA All-Stars James Harden (ASU), Andre Iguodala (ARIZ), Kevin Love (UCLA) and Russell Westbrook (UCLA), were undefeated throughout the tournament, with just two close games.
Aleksa Saponjic (CAL) and Serbia came from behind and defeated Montenegro, 12-11, to claim the bronze medal in men's water polo on the final day of the Olympic Games.
Over the course of the London Olympic Games, Pac-12-affiliated athletes claimed medals in a variety of sports, both indoors (swimming, water polo, volleyball, cycling and diving) and outdoors (swimming, track & field, soccer, tennis, rowing and beach volleyball).
In addition, contributions to the official medal count came almost equally in men's and women's sports. Pac-12 women contributed to 23 medals, while the men helped to win 22.
Individually, 89 total medals are going home with Pac-12 athletes, including 51 golds. While in London, Pac-12 athletes also set five world records, two Olympic records, an American record and a collegiate track record. A couple of 'firsts' were accomplished by Pac-12 athletes, including Haley Anderson (USC) becoming the first American woman to medal in the open water swimming event, and Tunisia's Ous Mellouli (USC) becoming the first swimmer to medal in an indoor and the open water events in the same Games.
Additionally, the "World's Greatest Athlete" was bestowed upon American and former Oregon Duck Ashton Eaton after winning the decathlon. An "All-American final" in women's beach volleyball featured three Pac-12 athletes of the four competing, and, with seven of the eight women's water polo teams featuring at least one athlete with Pac-12 ties, the Conference was virtually guaranteed three medals. Indeed, a Pac-12 athlete stood on every level of the medal podium at the end of the tournament.
With Conference-affiliated athletes representing 46 countries, Pac-12 competitors won medals for nine different countries. Eight of the 12 Pac-12 schools were also represented on the medal podium. USC led all universities across the nation with 25 total medals, California was third with 17 and Stanford had 16. The top-three gold medal-winning institutions across the country are from the Pac-12, with Stanford and USC each claiming 12. Cal had 11 to rank third, and UCLA's six medals tied for fifth.
In 16 days of competition, Pac-12 athletes claimed medals on all but one day of the London Games.
With the Pac-12 Networks set to launch this week, alumni and fans can continue to support some of the world's top talents with unprecedented exposure of Olympic sports. Over 40 Olympians from the London Games are expected to return to Pac-12 campuses this fall.
Today's Tweets from London
John Mann (CAL), USA Water Polo // @bearmann4
"#closingceremonies is amazing !!!! #teamusa pic.twitter.com/GBKiAeeo
Jessica Hardy (CAL), USA Swimming // @swimhardy
"The spice girls just made my Olympics complete! I just geeked out so bad being 5ft away while they sang!!"
Keshia Baker (ORE), USA Track & Field // @Keshia_Baker
"S/O to you! Thanks so much for your support and prayers! Im so happy and just in awe I don't know what else to say but THANK YOU!!!"
Dawn Harper (UCLA), USA Track & Field // @DHarp100mH
"Drummers got me excited for RIO already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
Maggie Steffens (STAN), USA Water Polo // @maggiesteffens
"Closing Ceremonies!!! I can't believe it's the end:) but also the beginning #TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/tjRv8DKV
Galen Rupp (ORE), USA Track & Field // @G_Rupp
"Overwhelmed by all the love and support this past week!! Thank you all!!!"
Adrienne Martello (WASH), USA Rowing // @HammerMartelli
So I hear a little band called The Who is playing at closing ceremonies... #soexcited
Mariya Koroleva (STAN), USA Synchronized Swimming // @mkoroleva
"Getting ready for Closing Ceremonies! Where did time go? #Olympics2012"
Kevin Love (UCLA), USA Basketball // @kevinlove
"Surreal feel. Special moment for all of us. Gold medal. At a loss of words. #USA"
Jenny Simpson (COLO), USA Track & Field // @trackjenny
"Quick dinner before staging for closing ceremonies. Can't believe it's already over. London has been an amazing Games city!"
Dominik Meichtry (CAL), Switzerland Swimming // @SwissDom
As the @Olympics come to a close tonight, I want to thank all the volunteers for making the 2012 Olympics possible. Thank you!!!