Cats Bring Home Five MedalsPosted on: August 15, 2012 in People & Places
The University of Arizona concluded a successful run in the 2012 London Olympics with a total haul of five medals by current or former student-athletes and seven appearances in event finals.
Leading the way was former Wildcat basketball star Andre Iguodala (2003-04) with a gold medal for Team USA in the men's basketball competition, Alyssa Anderson (2009-12) with a gold medal as a semi-final swimmer for the 4x200 meter freestyle relay, high jumper Brigetta Barrett (2010-13) with a silver medal and former swimmer Nick Thoman (2005-07) with a gold on the 4x200 medley relay and a silver in the 100m backstroke.
Watch this mini-documentary to learn more about Barrett's will to rise to the challenge.
Matt Grevers, a Northwestern graduate who trains with many UA swimmers as a member of the Tucson Ford Dealer's Aquatics team at UA's Hillenbrand pools, came back with a pair of golds - one in the 100m back ahead of Thoman and one for his backstroke leg on the 4x100 medley relay. He also earned a silver swimming the semi-final on the 4x100 freestyle relay.
UA hurdler Georgeanne Moline, who concluded a special season running from relative obscurity to the top of the world heap, finished fifth in the 400m hurdles final. Both she and Barrett will return for their senior seasons in 2012-13, along with shot putter Julie LaBonte' (2010-13), who was 22nd in qualifying on the women's side in track and field for her native Canada, and soccer player Ana-Maria Montoya, a 2012-13 junior whose Columbia team played in the group stage.
South African swimmer Darian Townsend (2007-08) had a fifth place finish in the 4x100 freestyle relay and a seventh place finish in the 4x200 relay. He was joined on the 4x100 by fellow countryman Roland Schoeman (1999-02), who also had a sixth place finish in the 50m freestyle.
Breaststroker Clark Burckle (2010) recorded sixth place in the 200m final for the USA, while South African Jean Basson (2007-10) swam on the same 4x200 free relay with Townsend for seventh place.
Mountain bike cyclist Todd Wells, a former UA student, recorded a 10th place finish in the finals of that race. UA volunteer assistant distance running coach Bernard Lagat, a Washington State graduate, finished just out of the medals in fourth place in the 5000m run, while volunteer assistant throws coach Jill Camarena-Williams, a Stanford grad, was 15th in qualifying for the shotput.
Other former Wildcat swimmers also appeared in the Games including Simon Burnett (2003-06) of Great Britain (sixth in his heat of the 4x100 free relay); Sara El Bekri (2010) of Morocco in three races - 3rd in her heat of the 100m breaststroke, 11th in the semi-finals of the 200m breaststroke and 7th in a heat of the 400m IM; Nicolas Nilo-Olveira (2006-09) of Brazil with an 8th in his heat of the 100m free and 4th in a heat of the 4x100 free relay; Nimrod Shapira Bar-Or (2009-11) of Israel with a 2nd in a heat of the 100m butterfly; and Albert Subirats (2005-08) of Venezuela with a 8th in a heat of the 100m butterfly. Former UA distance star Abdi Abdirahman (1998-99) withdrew late in the race after an injury during the marathon.
Former Arizona swimming coach Frank Busch, whose UA tenure spanned two decades from 1999-2011, was National Team Director for the highly successful USA Swimming contingent.
The five medals garnered by Wildcats athletes in London boosted Arizona's total to 63 (26 gold/23 silver/14 bronze) Olympic medals all-time. In fact, UA athletes have claimed at least one medal in every Olympiad since 1968.
Athletes with Arizona ties have competed in every summer Olympiad since the Rome Games in 1960 (athletes with UA ties also competed in 1952). A total of 113 athletes have made 178 appearances in the Games.