Trojans in the Olympics: 28 Athletes And Counting Headed To London


Jun 24, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Bryshon Nellum (right) and Josh Mance of Southern California embrace after placing third and fourth in the 400m in 44.80 and 44.88 in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

With the Olympic Trials nearing the end, current and former Trojans have been hard at work punching their tickets to London 2012. So far, 28 men and women of Troy have already qualified, and there are still a few left that will compete in events before the last day of competition, July 1 for track and field and July 2nd for swimming & diving.

Let’s look at some of the top stories out of the trials so far:

  • 400m runners Josh Mance and Bryshon Nellum competed in the final round for the open 400m, and it would be Nellum who ran away with the final spot in this event for Team USA. He finished with a time of 44.80, just eight/hundredths of a second faster than teammate, Mance. This is an incredible accomplishment for Nellum, as almost four years ago he was shot in the leg and his future as a track star was grim. Though Mance will not be running in the open 400 in London, he will attend his first ever Olympics as a member of the 4x400m relay team.
  • Allyson Felix, a 100m runner, is involved in a really interesting battle with Janeba Tarmoh. During the June 23 final, bothn Felix and Tarmoh finished with a time of 11.07. In track and field, there are no ties, so the win goes to the athlete whose torso crosses the finish line first. In looking at the photo though, it is impossible to tell who crossed first. To determine a winner, Felix and Tarmoh can either flip a coin, which Felix would get to call because she has the higher ranking going into the trials, or have a run off, and winner takes all. Both of them still will compete in the 200m race, so it’s likely that they will not make a decision how to determine the 100m winner until after the 200m roster is set.

Or, they could take fellow 100m runner Justin Gatlin’s  advice and mud wrestle for it. You know. Whichever.

  • USC Alums Shea Buckner and Joel Dennerly, water polo players, will be going to the Olympics, but this time they will be competitors. Both played at USC in 2008, being apart of the first of four historic, consecutive titles that the Trojans won. Buckner, an attacker will represent Team USA, while Dennerly will represent his homeland of Australia.
  • There are 25 Trojans heading into competition on the swimming and diving circuit, which began June 25. Naturally, superstar Rebecca Soni is leading the American contingent as she tries to repeat her Olympic success from 2008.

Oh, and by the way–those 25 Trojans in the trials? Those are only the American competitors. USC already has several of swimmers and divers competing who have qualified for international teams.

  • 800m runner Duane Solomon and high jumper Jesse Williams are the most recent Trojans to qualify for the games, making the cut during the finals on June 25. Williams is the reigning world champion in his event, and Solomon posted a season-best time of  1:44.65, finishing just .01 seconds after the second-place finisher, Khadevis Robinson.

The U.S. Olympic Trials for track and field will take a two-day break and the races will resume Thursday, June 28. Brandon Ames (110m HH), Allyson Felix (200m), Dalilah Muhammad (400m IH), Aareon Payne (200m), Logan Taylor (110m HH), Ryan Wilson (110m HH) and Reggie Wyatt (400m IH) will return to their quest for an Olympic berth then.

We will keep you updated on the swimming and diving trials, as well as the conclusion of those in track and field, on Thursday.