WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - It was an incredible day for Pac-12 athletes in London on Thursday, as 26 athletes with Conference ties claimed seven medals in four different sports. Included in today’s medal haul were three golds, as well as a pair of history-making firsts.
USA’s Ashton Eaton (ORE) lived up to the expectations after setting the world record in the decathlon at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June. The former Duck scored 8,869 points to win gold in London, earning the moniker “world’s greatest athlete.” He won three of the 10 events, including setting an Olympic best in the 100-meter run on Wednesday.
The Pac-12 was guaranteed one medal heading into the final day of the women’s soccer tournament, but picked up two instead. With nine former Pac-12 athletes on the 18-player roster, Team USA won its third-straight Olympic gold medal before an Olympic-record crowd of 80,203. The Americans defeated Japan, 2-1, as former Husky Hope Solo made a game-saving stop in the waning minutes, preserving the U.S.’s one-goal lead and, eventually, the win.
In the bronze medal women’s soccer match, Chelsea Stewart (UCLA) helped Canada win a close one against France, 1-0. After 90-plus minutes had already passed, the Canadians scored the winning goal in the stoppage time to claim the hardware.
The Pac-12 had the most impact in the women’s water polo competition as seven of the eight teams that qualified for the Olympic Games had players with Pac-12 ties (19 players in all). Heading into today’s medal round, the Conference had already secured a gold, silver and bronze to its medal count. Pac-12 players dominated the USA team roster, in particular. Twelve of the 13 players wearing the red, white and blue had Pac-12 affiliation. The USA, led by head coach and former Bruin Adam Krikorian, held off a late surge by Anna Espar’s (USC) teammates and defeated Spain, 8-5, to claim the gold. Spain took home the silver, while Australia, with Rowie Webster (ASU), topped Hungary, 13-11, with two players from the Conference in extra time. It was the first-ever gold medal for USA in the sport.
An individual medal went to USA’s Haley Anderson (USC) after surging from behind in the final 1,000 meters to claim silver in the 10 kilometer (6.2 miles) open water race at Hyde Park, located in the middle of London. She nearly caught the leader, crossing the finish line just .4 seconds behind. It is the first-ever medal for the U.S. in the event, which debuted in Beijing in 2008.
After 13 days of Olympic competition, the Pac-12’s medal count stands at 37 - 15 gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze. If the Conference were a nation, it would rank fifth behind Russia (56) in total medals. The U.S. leads all nations in the medal count with 90, followed by the China with 80. The Conference’s 15 gold medals would rank fourth among all nations.
Pac-12 Guide to Day 14 of the Olympics (Friday, August 10, 2012)
Track & Field (Athletics, M/W)
• USA’s Brad Walker (WASH) competes in the finals of the men’s pole vault. He is currently the American record holder in the event and is looking for his first Olympic medal in his first Games.
• Allyson Felix (USC) could be called upon to run in the women’s 4x100-meter relay as one of six athletes in the relay pool. The Americans qualified for the final by posting the fastest time in the qualifying heats on Thursday.
• Trojans Josh Mance and Bryshon Nellum ran in today’s men’s 4x400-meter relay qualifying heat. The Americans and the Bahamans crossed the finish line in a dead heat, tying for the fastest qualifying time of 2:58.87. With six runners in the relay pool, they could be called on to run the finals.
• As the Olympics and men’s basketball tournament wind down, the U.S. looks to remain unbeaten as it takes on Argentina in the semifinals. The Americans, who have four players and a trainer with Pac-12 ties, beat Argentina in the preliminary round, but the Argentines have momentum after an upset win over Brazil in the quarterfinals.
• Canada’s Riley McCormick (ASU) takes to the 10-meter diving platform in the preliminary round of the men’s competition. The top 18 divers move on to the semifinals on Saturday.
• In what will be the final swimming event, indoor or outdoor, in London, Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli (USC) becomes the first athlete to compete in the pool and in the open water at the same Olympics. Mellouli already has a medal from the London Games to his credit, claiming the bronze in the 1500-meter freestyle at the Aquatics Center. He will head to Hyde Park, located in the center of London, for his 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) swim looking to add to his collection.
Men’s Water Polo
• Aleksa Saponjic (CAL) and Serbia square off with Group B runner-up Italy in the semifinals of the men’s water polo competition. The Serbians, winners of Group A, have yet to lose a match in the tournament, while the Italians have won three straight entering Friday’s showdown.
• The U.S., which has seven players and an assistant coach with Pac-12 ties, takes on Spain in the first of two qualification matches on Friday. The classification matches determine placings from fifth to eighth. The winner will play for fifth place on Sunday.
• Trojans James Clark and Joel Dennerley lead Australia against Hungary in the second classification match tomorrow. Australia finished fourth in Group A, while Hungary placed third in Group B. The winner of this match will play for fifth place on Sunday.
• Canada’s Matt Gentry (STAN) hopes for a long day of competition in the men’s 74kg freestyle wrestling competition. He begins in the 1/8 Finals and hopes to be in the medal matches six hours later.
Olympic action will be televised on the NBC family of networks and will also be live streamed at nbcolympics.com. For more information on TV listings and times, visit nbcolympics.com. For official results, schedules and medal counts, visit london2012.com.
Today’s Tweets from London
Ryan Hall (STAN), USA Track & Field // @ryanhall3
“Had a dream last night that fly fishing was in the Olympics, which would be my only option in 2024. #dreamin’”
Shalaya Kipp (COLO), USA Track & Field // @ShalayaKipp
“What an incredible journey this has been! Regardless of the result, I will leave London with a smile on my face. Thanks for all the support!”
Conlin McCabe (WASH), Canada Rowing // @colinmccabe
“The whole village dining hall stopped to watch the #Bolt I love the pre race showboating on camera #200mFinal”
Jessica Hardy (CAL), USA Swimming // @swimhardy
“Congrats USA women’s water polo, so excited for you guys!! @USAWP”
Will Crothers (WASH), Canada Rowing // @willcrothers
“Going to watch usain tear up the track tonight during the 200 and 4x100. Pretty pumped”
Kelley O’Hara (STAN), USA Soccer // @kohara19
“Waited for this day for a long time. This is it/ #goldmedalmatch #olympics”
April Ross (USC), USA Beach Volleyball // @BeachProApril
“Jen and I are invited to a party with Prince Albert II of Monaco tonight! Royalty apparently loves beach volley!!”
Alex Morgan (CAL), USA Soccer // @alexmorgan13
“We are Olympic gold Medalists!!!!!!!! #fb http://pic.twitter.com/IuVUj7Qb”
Maggie Steffens (STAN), USA Water Polo // @maggiesteffns
“When dreams come true #dream big ONE LOVE ONE TEAM! GOLD baby : ) !!!”
Allyson Felix (USC), USA Track & Field // @allysonfelix
“My new favorite piece of jewelry! http://instagr.am/p/OICVuqmgUb/”
Jenny Simpson (COLO), USA Track & Field // @trackjenny
“RTed just a few of the sweetest tweets from you all.My JOY in running is why I do it, the rest is all bonus. Thanks for reminding me :)”
Sydney Leroux (UCLA), USA Soccer // @sydneyleroux
“Mom, I love you! Thank you for teaching me how to never take no for an answer. http://instagr.am/p/OH-XiAmWNH/”
Haley Anderson (USC), USA Swimming // @halswims
“This has truly been an amazing experience!! Thanks for all the kind words. I have the best family and support system out there #USA #USC”