Trojans In The Olympics: USC Sprinters On Pace For Glory


Tomorrow, USC and its more than 30 athletes will begin competing in London in the 2012 Olympics. These athletes will represent the Trojan Family and TEAM USA on their quest for gold.

First, here is a look at some sprinters that are poised to make some Olympic history for themselves, and USC:

Josh Mance (USA):

Mar 24, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Josh Mance of Southern California wins the 400m in 45.65 in the 2012 Trojan Invitational at Cromwell Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Mance graduated from high school in 2010, and in just two years at USC, he has made his way to the Olympic stage. As a freshman, he set a freshman record of 45.29 seconds at the NCAA semifinals and earned All-American honors by placing 6th in the 400-meter at the NCAA finals, among other things. USC has a long-standing history of producing top flight 400m sprinters, and Mance is just the latest example of that. Before USC, he went to and medaled at a few Junior Olympics, so it only makes sense that once he was eligible, he would earn himself a spot on the roster for the real deal. At the 2012 Olympic qualifiers, he competed in the open 400m and the 4x400m relay and qualified for the U.S. relay team. He placed in the top-four times considered for the relay, so it is highly likely that he will be on the final team once it is actually set. This is Mance’s first stint at the Olympics, but based on his pedigree, we can expect him to be a legitimate factor amongst the best of the best for Team USA.

Event: 1600m relay

Bryshon Nellum (USA):

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

If any American Olympian deserved the opportunity to compete in London, it is undoubtedly Nellum. In October 2008, Nellum was shot in the hamstring, and his track career looked like it would come to an extremely heartbreaking end. However, Nellum fought on through recovery and made a triumphant return during the 2012 season, four years later after the incident. He placed in the top-six at the NCAA finals, which garnered him an opportunity to compete at the Olympic Qualifiers. There, he competed alongside fellow sprinter Mance in the 400m, and just edged him out at the finish for the final spot on the roster. After the race, he and Mance embraced, and it was clear that both of them were elated at how far Nellum had come in four years. Nellum will be going for even more glory when he competes in his first Olympics, an opportunity that wasn’t supposed to happen.

Event: Open 400m

Allyson Felix (USA):

Jun 30, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Allyson Felix celebrates after winning the womens 200m in 21.69 during the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Felix is a three-time Olympian, having ran and earned a silver medal in the 200m at Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008, and a gold at Beijing as well in the 4x400m relay. She has won gold three times in the 200m at the Athletics World Championships, and is the only women to have done so. The first time she won gold in 2005, she also became the youngest ever to do so. She and Jamaican sprinter Veronica Campbell have a bit of a rivalry growing between them, as Campbell has bested Felix for the gold medal at the Olympics both times. In the 2012 Olympic Qualifiers, Felix had a bit of a controversy regarding the outcome of the 100m race. At the immediate end of the race, the third place nod was given to Janeba Tarmoh. However, after looking at the finish on the camera, the two finished in a dead heat and it was indiscernible who crossed the line first. Felix and Tarmoh were supposed to compete in a run off after the conclusion of the 200m final, but Tarmoh bowed out and conceded the spot to Felix. Expect her to once again medal for Team USA in the sprinting events, possibly even winning the ever-elusive gold medal this time around.