The sun set on the 2012 London Olympics on Sunday night and for USC, it was the most successful Games ever for its current and former Trojan athletes. Men and women of Troy won 25 medals (12 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze), more than any American university.
If USC were a nation, they would have placed sixth in the gold medal standings, and 11th in total medals.
USC’s 25 total medals and 12 golds are both school records for a single Olympics. Before this, USC earned 24 total at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and 10 golds at both the 1948 London and the 2008 Beijing Games. The 12 Trojan gold medals in London tied with Stanford for the most by a university in 2012, and USC continued its incredible streak of having won a gold medal for an entire century of summer Olympics, beginning in 1912.
Forty-one Trojan athletes competed in the London games, tied with Stanford for the most-represented university, competing in seven events and representing 18 countries. Women of Troy made up 24 of USC’s London Olympians, and 22 athletes competed in their first ever Games. Seven coaches with Trojan ties served as Olympic staffs for various countries as well.
For the women of Troy, Americans Allyson Felix(track and field) and Rebecca Soni (swimming) each captured three medals, all of which were golds for Felix. She won the 200-meter dash, 4x100m relay and 4x00m relay, while in the pool, Soni earned a couple of golds in the 200m breaststroke and 400m medley relay, and a silver in the 100m breaststroke.
Felix and Soni now each own six Olympic medals in their careers, tying Australian swimmer Murray Rose for the most ever earned by a Trojan. Felix is now also just the sixth Trojan to strike gold four times in a career: Rose, swimmers John Naber, Lenny Krayzelburg and Janet Evans and lady hooper Lisa Leslie previously accomplished this feat.
Two more Trojan swimmers earned two medals in London. Clement Lefert (France, gold in 400m freestyle relay and silver in 800m freestyle relay) and Ous Mellouli (Tunisia, gold in marathon swim 10K and bronze in 1500m freestyle). USC’s other gold medalists were U.S. women’s water polo players Kami Craig, Lauren Wenger and Tumua Anae, American soccer player Amy Rodriguez and 400-meter hurdler Felix Sanchez, representing the Dominican Republic.
Six Trojans earned silver medals: Beach volleyball’s April Ross and Jennifer Kessy, sprinters Bryshon Nellum and Josh Mance in the 4x400m relay, swimmer Haley Anderson in the marathon swim 10K and volleyball player Nicole Davis, all athletes for Team USA. Spanish water polo player Anni Espar also earned a silver medal for her country.
Bronze medalists from USC: swimmers Vladimir Morozov, who swam the 400m freestyle relay for Russia, American Amanda Weir in the women’s 400m freestyle relay and Margaux Farrell of France in the 800m freestyle relay.
Pat Haden spoke about the success Trojans had in the London Games:
“We are extremely proud of every Trojan athlete who competed at the 2012 London Olympics,” said USC’s Charles Griffin Cale Director of Athletics’ Chair Pat Haden. “Based on their performances and the medals they won, this is the most successful class of USC Olympians ever. Considering our long Olympic heritage, that is a remarkable achievement. It is safe to say that USC is the `Home of Olympians.’”
In its history, USC has sent more athletes to the Olympics than any other university, with 418 since 1904. These Trojans earned their medals before, during or after their careers with USC. They have collected 287 medals (135 gold, 87 silvers and 65 bronze) in that time. If USC competed as a country, its 287 Summer Olympics medals would rank 16th most in the world, and its 135 gold medals would be 12th most.
USC has once again continued its fabled Olympic tradition, and many of these athletes will return to USC this fall to continue working on their degrees, sporting some impressive hardware while they do it.