Vendt, Keller Extend Amazing Trojan Olympic Gold Medal Streak
Aug. 12, 2008
Former Trojan swimming greats Erik Vendt and Klete Keller, members of the U.S. 4x200-meter freestyle relay, clinched gold medals when the Americans took first in the event's final Wednesday morning at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, extending an amazing USC streak: a Trojan has won a gold medal in every summer Olympics from 1912.
Vendt and Keller swam the final two legs of the Americans' preliminary relay Tuesday night in Beijing, helping to set an Olympic record of 7:04.66. Although both only swam in the prelims, by virtue of the U.S. win in the final, both former Trojans earned the same medals as the swimmers in the final.
It is Vendt's first Olympic gold medal after winning the silver medal in the 400m IM in both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics. It is Keller's second Olympic gold and fifth medal overall (he also has one silver and two bronze). He previously won gold as the anchor leg during the final of 4x200m free relay in 2004 when he held off Australian great Ian Thorpe at the wall.
It was the third and fourth medals already won by a current, former or future Trojan in the 2008 Games. Former Trojan Larsen Jensen earlier this week won bronze in the 400m free while current USC senior Rebecca Soni won silver in the 100m breast. Both are medal contenders in other events later in the week.
USC's medal haul likely will increase in the coming days. Troy is represented by 41 past, present and future athletes competing in nine sports in the 2008 Athens Games.
In history, athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance now have collected 114 golds, 67 silvers and 59 bronzes.
USC has sent more athletes to the Olympic Games than any other university. Since its first Olympian in 1904, there have been 385 Olympic athletes with a USC affiliation.