Troy Gears Up for 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics
The 2008 Olympic Games will commence in Beijing, China on August 8. The world will watch in anticipation, rooting for their country's athletes. As the Summer Olympics of 2008 draws near, the anticipation grows.
USC: What a Country!
There is another entity that sends athletes to the Olympics, not a country, but a university. Since 1904, USC has sent 362 participants to the Olympics. Of those 362, 51 countries have been represented. Trojan success in the Olympics is unsurpassed in the collegiate ranks. USC has sent more athletes to the Olympic Games than any other university.
If USC were a country, it would rank 12th in Gold Medal count and 19th in total Olympic Medals. These Olympians have competed in twenty-five sports. The majority participated in swimming (135) and track & field (119).
USC Olympians have medalled in every Olympics since 1904. USC Olympians have garnered at least one gold medal in every summer Olympics since 1912, The total medal count for USC Olympians is 236, including 112 gold, 66 silver and 58 bronze.
Former Trojans have been inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of fame. These include: Janet Evans and John Naber (swimming), Sammy Lee (diving), Parry O'Brien and Frank Wykoff (track).
In Trojan gear, Larsen Jensen celebrates 1st place finish in 400-meter freestyle victory at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
2004 Athens Success
In 2004, USC athletes won 17 medals-8 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze at the Athens Olympics. If USC athletes had competed as a country, they would have tied for 16th in the overall medal standings in the Athens Games.
The majority of USC's gold medal haul came in swimming, with 5 victorious Trojans competing for the United States: Lindsay Benko, Rhi Jeffrey and Kaitlin Sandeno, Klete Keller and Lenny Krayzelburg. Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson helped lead the U.S. to gold in women's basketball, while Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic won the gold in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles. Sandeno also won a silver medal. Other silver medalists were: Benko, Larsen Jensen and Erik Vendt.
Allyson Felix won a bronze medal for the U.S. track squad. USC's other bronze medal winners were Keller and Gabe Woodward for the U.S. and Blythe Harley of Canada. In all, 34 athletes with a USC affiliation competed in Athens.
What's in Store for 2008
As the 2008 Olympics approaches, we anticipate more medals for USC, the country. The list of Olympic qualifiers grows daily. The largest contingent of hopefuls is in the swimming. The following outlines some of the qualifiers to date.
USC swimming is making a mark on the assault of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Recent USC graduate Larsen Jensen, the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the 1500-meter freestyle, locked up a spot to race in the event again at the Beijing Games when he finished second in the race on the final day of the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials. He also qualified for the 400-meter freestyle. Jensen owns the American record in the 400m, 800m and 1500m free. Former Trojan Erik Vendt will be on the 4x200m free relay team.
Donning a Trojan cap and ahead of the field, USC's Rebecca Soni qualifies for the 200-meter breaststroke. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)
Other Trojans on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Swimming team are senior Rebecca Soni, who won the 200m breaststroke, former Trojan Klete Keller, who qualified in the 4x200m free relay, and Mark Warkentin, who will swim in the open water 10K. Trojan senior Ankur Poseria qualified for the Olympics for his native India, while former Trojan swimmer Tamas Kerekjarto has done the same for his native Hungary. Finally, Ous Mellouli qualified for Tunisia.
Track and Field
USC alum Jesse Williams jumped 7 feet 6 1/2 inches to win the men's high jump at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
Jessie Williams after clearing the bar to win the men's high jump finals at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, July 5, 2008. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
USC senior soccer player Amy Rodriguez will be the first Trojan represented on the Women's Soccer team. Rodriguez was a participant in USC Women's national championship team in the fall. The United States is ranked No. 1 in the world and has medaled in all three Olympic Games in which women's soccer was added.
Trojans Moriah van Norman, Lauren Wenger, Patty Cardenas, Brittany Hayes and Kami Craig will represent the U.S. in women's waterpolo.
On the men's side, USC sends J.W. Krumpholz to the Olympics, its first representative since 2000.
SCPlaybook will continue to bring you coverage and updates of the USC Olympic hopefuls for 2008.