Record 65 USC Athletes — More Than Any U.S. University — Headed To 2020 Tokyo Olympics
LOS ANGELES — USC will be represented by an astounding 61 past, present and future students competing at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, far more than any school in the nation this Olympics and the Trojans' most ever in a single Olympics.
USC's current total of 61 competitors is more than 162 of the 206 National Olympic Committee delegations competing in Tokyo. It is the sixth consecutive Summer Games with at least 40 Trojan Olympians.
Fans can go to olympics.usctrojans.com to follow USC's Tokyo Olympians. The site will include a daily schedule of events and results involving Trojan Olympians, an updated USC medal count, a roster with biographical information on each Trojan in Tokyo, pertinent news releases and USC's Olympic history.
USC fans can also support and watch Trojan athletes on television and online from the July 23 Opening Ceremonies to Aug. 8's Closing Ceremonies. Follow USC Athletics on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates, as well as USC's individual sports' social accounts. Fans also are encouraged to follow their favorite Trojan athletes — like Allyson Felix, Michael Norman and April Ross, among many others — on social media.
Coming into the 2020 Games, USC has sent more athletes to the Summer and Winter Olympics, and they have won more medals and gold medals, than any other U.S. university. From the 1904 Summer Games through the 2018 Winter Olympics, there have been 472 athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance. They have collected 305 medals (142 gold, 91 silver and 72 bronze), including at least one gold medal in every Summer Olympics since 1912. If USC competed separately, its 305 medals would rank 13th most in the world, while its 142 gold medals would be tied for 11th most.
Leading candidates to keep USC's gold-medal streak alive in 2021 include track sprinters Michael Norman (U.S.) and Andre De Grasse (Canada) and hurdlers Rai Benjamin (U.S.) and Dalilah Muhammad (U.S.), swimmer Katinka Hosszu (Hungary), water polo players Kaleigh Gilchrist, Paige Hauschild, Stephania Haralabidis and Amanda Longan (all U.S.) and beach volleyball players April Ross (U.S.) and Kelly Claes (U.S.).
Of the 61 USC 2020 Olympians, 18 will compete in swimming, 16 in water polo, 15 in track and field, 3 in beach volleyball, 2 each in golf, rowing and tennis and 1 each in baseball, basketball and volleyball.
In all, Trojans will compete for the United States and 31 other National Olympic Committees: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, China, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Republic of Moldova, ROC (Russian Olympic Committee), Romania, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia.
Twenty-six of USC's 2020 Olympians have participated in previous Games, 12 are current or incoming USC student-athletes and 34 are women.
Three others with current USC ties will be involved in the Tokyo Olympics. Swimming assistant coach Chase Bloch will be the swimming head coach for Trinidad and Tobago and women's beach volleyball assistant coach Gustavo Rocha will be the beach volleyball head coach for Latvia, while women's beach volleyball head coach Dain Blanton (himself an Olympic gold medalist) will serve as a beach volleyball announcer for NBC.
A Trojan also will compete in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics following the Olympics. Senior Robert Tanaka, who is legally blind, will compete in judo for the U.S.
USC OLYMPIC FUN FACTS
- In its history, USC has had Olympic athletes represent 65 different National Olympic Committees, but the 2020 Games will be the first time a Trojan Olympian has hailed from Croatia (Nikola Miljenic), Latvia (Tina Graudina) and Tonga (Noelani Day).
- This will be the sixth consecutive Summer Olympics that USC has been represented by at least 40 Olympians. The 61 Tokyo Olympians are USC's most ever in a Games. Previously, USC's 51 competitors in the 2008 Beijing Games were its most ever.
- For the third consecutive Games, no U.S. university will have sent more athletes to the Olympics than USC (61). There were 47 Trojans in Rio in 2016 and 41 in London in 2012 (tied with Stanford).
- USC has had Olympic athletes participate in 30 different sports in its history. Among the more unusual events for a Trojan: George Roth won a gold medal in the 1932 Games in club swinging (part of the gymnastics competition).
- USC's 10 women's water polo players in the Tokyo Games are its most at any Olympics and its 6 men's water poloists are its most since 1956 (when it had 7). USC will have more track and field athletes (15) in Tokyo than at any Olympics.
- Eleven of USC's 2020 Olympians have won medals in previous Games: Allyson Felix (silver in 2004, gold and silver in 2008, 3 golds in 2012, 2 golds and a silver in 2016), Katinka Hosszu (3 golds and a silver in 2016), Ous Mellouli (gold in 2008, gold and bronze in 2012), Andre De Grasse (silver and 2 bronzes in 2016), April Ross (silver in 2012, bronze in 2016), Kaleigh Gilchrist (gold in 2016), Dalilah Muhammad (gold in 2016), Haley Anderson (silver in 2012), Anni Espar (silver in 2012), Vladimir Morozov (bronze in 2012) and Aaron Brown (bronze in 2016). Felix's 9 total medals and 6 gold medals are the most ever by any Trojan.
- Ous Mellouli of Tunisia will be competing in his sixth consecutive Olympics in Tokyo, tied for most all-time by a Trojan (with fencer Janice Lee York Romary in 1948-52-56-60-64-68). Allyson Felix and Katinka Hosszu will be in their fifth Olympics.
- Seven of USC's 2020 Olympians have relatives who have competed in the Olympics. Haley Anderson's sister, Alyssa, won a gold medal in the 2012 Games with USA swimming's 800-meter freestyle relay. Chloe Brew's father, Paul, swam for Great Britain in the 1988 Olympics and her uncle, Robin Brew, swam for Great Britain in the 1984 Games. Anni Espar's sister, Clara, was on Spain's water polo team in the 2016 Olympics with Anni and is again with Anni in the 2020 Games. Robert Farah's mother, Eva, was a volleyball player for Libya in the 1976 Games. Kaleigh Gilchrist's father, John (known as "Sandy"), was in the 1964 and 1968 Games, her uncle, Allen, was in the 1948 and 1952 Games and her aunt, Lenora Fisher-Gilchrist, was in the 1952 and 1956 Games (all swam for Canada). Louise Hansson's sister, Sophie, swam for Sweden in 2016 and is also on the 2020 Swedish team again with Louise. Maud Megen's mother, Patricia, was on Netherland's water polo team in the 2000 Olympics.
- Australian water polo players Blake and Lachlan Edwards are brothers. They will be the sixth set of Trojan brothers to be Olympians. The others: U.S. swimmers Dan (gold in 1988, bronze in 1992) and Lars Jorgensen, Joe (silver in 1976) and Mike Bottom (Mike was part of the U.S. team that boycotted the 1980 Games) and Bruce (2 golds in 1976) and Steve (bronze in 1972) Furniss, as well as Canada swimmers Allen and Sandy Gilchrist and Zimbabwe tennis players Byron and Wayne Black (singles and doubles in the 1996 Olympics).
- Michael Norman's mother, Nobue Saito, was born in Japan, grew up in Hamatsu (about 150 miles southwest of Tokyo) and set the country's middle school record in the 100 meters. Michael speaks Japanese and still has relatives in Japan.
- Santo Condorelli, who will swim for Italy in 2021 after representing Canada in the 2016 Olympics, will be the fourth Trojan to compete for two countries in the Olympics. The others: volleyballer Terry Place Brandel (for the U.S. in 1980 and West Germany in 1984), swimmer Bjorn Zikarsky (for West Germany in 1988 and Germany in 1996, winning a bronze) and water poloist Aniko Pelle (for Hungary in 2004 and 2008 and Italy in 2012).
- Shot putter Nick Ponzio, who grew up in Temecula, Calif., became an Italian citizen on June 15, then won the Italian shot put championship less than 2 weeks later to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Mexican tennis player Giuliana Olmos got married on July 14, then found out the next morning that she was added to the tennis doubles entries for the 2020 Games.
- Two incoming USC freshmen will compete in Tokyo: swimmers Marlene Kahler of Austria and Noelani Day of Tonga.
- Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu's 4 medals in the 2016 Olympics (golds in the 100-meter backstroke, 200-meter individual medley and 400-meter individual medley and a silver in the 200-meter backstroke) were the most medals won by a Trojan in individual events in one Olympics.
- Swimmer Ous Mellouli of Tunisia became the first African male swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal in an individual swimming event when he captured gold in the 1500-meter freestyle in 2008 (it was just the second gold medal his country had ever earned). He got another gold, this time outdoors, when he won the open water 10K in 2012.
- Mellouli also is one of 15 Trojans to have carried their delegation's flag in the Olympics' opening ceremonies (he did so in 2016) and one of 4 Trojans to have done so in the closing ceremonies (2012). He and hurdler Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic are the only Trojans to have done so in both opening and closing ceremonies. Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu also carried her delegation's flag in the closing ceremonies (2016).
- Currently, two 2020 USC Olympians are scheduled to carry their delegation's flag in Tokyo during the opening ceremonies' Parade of Nations: swimmers Robert Glinta of Hungary and Yakov Toumarkin of Israel.
- Four current USC head coaches have competed in the Olympics. Women's beach volleyball head coach Dain Blanton represented the U.S. in the 2000 (winning a gold medal) and 2004 Olympics in beach volleyball. Men's volleyball head coach Jeff Nygaard was on the U.S. indoor volleyball team at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and teamed with Blanton on the beach in the 2004 Olympics. New director of track and field and cross country Quincy Watts won gold medals for the U.S. in the 400 meters and 1600-meter relay at the 1992 Games. Diving head coach Hongping Li participated in diving for China in the 1984 Olympics, finishing fourth in springboard (he also was on China's team that boycotted the 1980 Games).
- Four current Trojan assistant coaches have Olympic experience, either as competitors or coaches. Track and field volunteer assistant coach Joanna Hayes won a gold medal for the U.S. in the 100-meter hurdles at the 2004 Olympics. Swimming associate head coach Lea Maurer won gold (400-meter medley relay) and bronze (100-meter backstroke) medals for the U.S. at the 1992 Olympics. Men's volleyball assistant coach Gary Sato was an assistant with the U.S. men's volleyball team that won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, a bronze at the 1992 Games and placed fifth in 2012. Women's beach volleyball assistant coach Gustavo Rocha, who is Latvia's beach volleyball head coach in Tokyo, was a U.S. beach volleyball assistant coach at the 2016 Olympics, helping former Trojan April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings win a bronze medal.
- In the last Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, USC's 47 competitors won 21 medals (9 gold, 5 silver, 7 bronze). That tied for the second most medals by an American university in 2016 and was the third consecutive Summer Olympics that USC athletes won at least 20 medals. The 7 bronze medals are the most USC has ever won in a Games. If USC athletes had competed separately in Rio, they would have tied for eighth in the gold medal standings and tied for 11th in overall medals. USC's 47 Olympians in 2012 were the most of any university.
- In 1964 when the Olympics last were held in Tokyo, 40 Trojans competed and they won 14 medals (7 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze). Among the star Trojans in Tokyo then were Rex Cawley (gold in the 400-meter hurdles), rower Conn Findlay (gold), double gold medalist Michael Larrabee (400 meters and 1600-meter relay), shot putter Dallas Long (gold) and swimmer Roy Saari (gold in the 800-meter freestyle relay and silver in the 400-meter individual medley).
- USC's oldest surviving Olympian is U.S. swimmer Iris Cummings Critchell (born Dec. 21, 1920) from the 1936 Berlin Games, followed by William Ross (born July 6, 1928), a U.S. water polo player in the 1956 Melbourne Games. USC's oldest surviving Olympic medalist is U.S. pole vaulter Ron Morris (born March 27, 1935), who won silver in the 1960 Games. USC's oldest surviving Olympic gold medalist is Australian swimmer Jon Henricks (born June 6, 1935), who won 2 golds in the 1956 Games.
- Of USC's 472 all-time Olympians, 148 are female.
- Of USC's 305 all-time Olympic medals, 71 were won by athletes representing National Olympic Committees other than the U.S.
- In addition to appearing in the Summer Games, USC athletes have competed in the Winter Olympics 11 times.
- Swimmer Ian Silverman, who has mild cerebral palsy, won a gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.
- The Pac-12, known as the Conference of Champions, will be well represented in Tokyo with 306 competitors (not including alternates, coaches or staff) at the 2020 Olympics and each of its top 5 universities likely will have more Tokyo Olympians than any other school in the nation: USC (61), Stanford (51), California (46), UCLA (37), Washington (31), Arizona State (22), Arizona (19), Oregon (19), Utah (7), Colorado (5), Oregon State (4) and Washington State (4).
- As it did in the 1932 and 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles, USC will play a significant role in the staging of the upcoming 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. In 2028, the track and field events and portions of the opening and closing ceremonies will be held at the Coliseum, while USC's Dedeaux Field will be the site of swimming, diving and artistic swimming events, the Galen Center will host the badminton competition and the USC campus will house the main press center and media village.