Pac-12 To Represent Well at 2012 Olympics
Some of the most decorated and accomplished athletes have come from the Pac-12 and will be competing in London this summer, including USC's Rebecca Soni.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - The Pac-12 Conference with its 12 member institutions will be well represented when the XXX Olympiad kicks off in London on Friday, July 27. The London Games will showcase 239 athletes, coaches and other officials with ties to Pac-12 institutions, outpacing other major conferences. The Pac-12 athletes, coaches and officials will represent 43 countries.
Team USA will feature 138 individuals with Pac-12 ties, including 119 athletes competing in 13 sports. In fact, Pac-12 Olympians make up almost 25 percent of the 529 Team USA athletes set to compete in London. In addition, for the first time ever, the U.S. is sending more women than men to the Olympic Games. Of those 269 women donning the red, white and blue, 69 are from the Pac-12 (26 percent), a true testament to Title IX and the Conference's strength in women's athletics.
Another 100 individuals from the Pac-12 will represent 42 countries at the Games. The country with the second-most delegates from the Pac-12 is Canada with 20. Overall, Pac-12 athletes will be competing in 16 different sports.
The sport with the most Pac-12 athletes is track and field, with 59 competing for 20 countries. Swimming is second with 52 athletes from 28 countries. The water polo competition will feature the third-most Pac-12 athletes with 31, including 12 women named to the 13-player USA roster. In rowing, 29 athletes competing for several countries have Pac-12 allegiances.
Other notable areas of impressive Pac-12 participation include women's soccer, women's water polo and beach volleyball. Ten women on the 18-player USA women's soccer roster are from the Pac-12, 12 of the 13 women's water polo players are from the Pac-12, and five of the eight named to the beach volleyball roster are from the Pac-12.
Every Pac-12 institution will be represented at the Olympic Games in London. USC will send the largest contingency with 44 athletes, coaches and officials. The Trojans also have the most countries represented with 18. CALIFORNIA is second in both categories with 42 Olympians representing 17 countries. STANFORD is third with 40 Olympians.
Some of the most decorated and accomplished athletes have come from the Pac-12 and will be competing in London this summer. Among those to watch are NBA All-Stars Andre Iguodala (ARIZ), Kevin Love (UCLA) and Russell Westbrook (UCLA); beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh (STAN); soccer goalie Hope Solo (WASH); swimmers Natalie Coughlin (CAL), Rebecca Soni (USC) and Dana Vollmer (CAL); track and field athletes Amy Acuff (UCLA), Desiree Davila (ASU), Ashton Eaton (ORE), Allyson Felix (USC), Kara Goucher (COLO), Ryan Hall (STAN), Bernard Lagat (WSU), Meb Keflezighi (UCLA), Galen Rupp (ORE) and Jenny Simpson (COLO); and women's volleyball player Logan Tom (STAN).
In addition to the athletes, some of the most prestigious coaching minds that roam the sidelines, infield and pool decks around the Pac-12 will be doing so in London. USA Swimming women's head coach Teri McKeever just completed her 20th year Cal; Frank Busch, the USA Swimming National Team Director, recently stepped down as Arizona head coach after over two decades of service; USA Water Polo women's head coach Adam Krikorian is a UCLA alum and was the head coach of the Bruins for 11 years; and Cal men's rowing head coach Mike Teti will coach the prestigious USA Men's Eight.
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 eighth 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.
With the launch of the new Pac-12 Networks on August 15, Olympic fans can continue to watch some of the London Olympians compete as 44 of the athletes (including incoming freshmen) and coaches will return to Pac-12 campuses to represent their schools. Among those athletes who will return include 2011-12 NCAA Champions Brigetta Barrett (ARIZ, track & field), Marcin Tarczynski (CAL, swimming), Kristian Ipsen (STAN, diving), Haley Anderson (USC, swimming), Caitlin Leverenz (CAL, swimming) and Shalaya Kipp (COLO, track & field).
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.