USC And The Olympics: Did You Know?
July 9, 2012
More than 35 past, present and future Trojans will be competing in the 2012 London Olympic Games. they will add to USC's unparalleled Olympic legacy.
Here are some facts and figures about USC and the Olympics with the London Games just three weeks away...
--USC's Olympic Tradition: USC has a long tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes, producing more Olympians, Olympic medalists and Olympic gold medalists than any other U.S. university. Since 1904 (not including the upcoming 2012 London Olympics), 396 athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance have competed in the Games (they have won 587 places on Olympic teams), taking home 123 gold medals (with at least 1 gold in every summer Olympics from 1912), 78 silver and 61 bronze.
If USC competed as a country, its 262 total medals would be 17th among all countries (while its 123 gold medals would be 12th). In 6 different Olympics, USC's medal count would have placed it among the Top 10 nations.
USC Olympians have represented 57 different countries and have participated in 28 different sports. Trojans have appeared in the Winter Olympic 9 times. Six Trojans are in the U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame: Janet Evans, Sammy Lee, John Naber, Parry O'Brien, Charles Paddock and Frank Wykoff.
--The First: USC's first Olympian (and first medal winner) was Emil Breitkreutz, who won a bronze in the 800-meter run at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics. USC's first gold medalist was Fred Kelly in the 110-meter high hurdles in the 1912 Stockholm Games. High jumper Alma Richards also won a gold medal in those 1912 Games.
--London Redux: USC's oldest surviving Olympic medalists are a quartet of gold medal winners from the 1948 London Games (the Games return to London in 2012). They are diver Sammy Lee, sprinter Cliff Bourland and Mel Patton and shot putter Wilbur "Moose" Thompson.
--Big Medal Hauls: Five Trojans have won 4 gold medals: swimmers Janet Evans, Lenny Krayzelburg, John Naber and Murray Rose and basketballer Lisa Leslie. Only Naber won all of his gold medals at one Olympics (he also won a silver). Murray Rose has won the most medals of any Trojan, 6 (4 golds, 1 silver, 1 bronze during two Olympics).
--Unusual Sports: Trojans have competed in 28 different Olympic sports over the years, some not usually associated with USC. These include club swinging (George Roth won a gold medal in that gymnastics-sponsored event in the 1932 Los Angeles Games), boxing, canoeing, cycling, equestrian, fencing (Helene Mayer won a gold medal in 1928 and Janice Lee York Romary participated in 6 Olympics between 1948 and 1968, the most of any Trojan), field hockey, modern pentathlon, rhythmic gymnastics, team handball, yachting and beach volleyball...and, in the Winter Olympics, figure skating, freestyle skiing, bobsled and biathlon.
--Related Trojans: A number of Trojan relatives have competed in the Olympics, including father/daughter, brother/sister and brother/brother. Track sprinters Lennox (silver and bronze for Jamaica) and daughter Inger (gold for U.S.) Miller. William Sr. and daughter Joyce Horton, yachting in 1952 Helsinki Games. Swimmers Klete (5 medals, 2 golds) and sister Kalyn Keller. Swimmers and brothers Dan (gold, silver) and Lars Jorgensen. Brothers Byron and Wayne Black in the 1996 Olympics for Zimbabwe in tennis singles and doubles. Swimmers and brothers Joe and Mike Bottom (Mike was part of the U.S. team that boycotted the 1980 Games). Swimmers and brothers Bruce (2 golds in 1976) and Steve (a bronze in 1972) Furniss. Canadian swimming brothers Allen and Sandy Gilchrist.
--Multiple Sports/Countries: Four Trojans appeared in the Olympics in 2 sports: Conn Findlay (yachting and rowing), Robert Hughes (water polo and swimming), Carlos Van der Maath (water polo and swimming) and Wallace Wolf (swimming and water polo). Findlay won 2 golds and a bronze in rowing and a bronze in yachting while appearing in 4 Olympics, Wolf won a gold in swimming in the 1948 London Games.
Two Trojans competed for 2 countries: volleyballer Terry Place Brandel (for the U.S. in 1980 and West Germany in 1984) and swimmer Bjorn Zikarsky (for West Germany in 1988 and Germany in 1996, winning a bronze).
--Keeping the Gold Streak Alive: Trojans have won a gold medal at every Summer Games from 1912, even at the U.S. boycotted 1980 Moscow Games, though barely as 28 Trojans from non-boycotting countries competed in Moscow, but only one won a gold medal (Australian swimmer Michelle Ford in the 800-meter freestyle).
--Women's Hoops Heritage: Some of the greatest U.S. women's basketball Olympians were Trojans, including gold medalists Lisa Leslie (4 golds), Tina Thompson (2 golds), Cheryl Miller and Cynthia Cooper.
--USC Women in the Olympics: USC female Olympians span from discus thrower Lillian Copeland (gold, silver) in the 1928 and 1932 Games and fencer Helene Mayer (gold for Germany) in 1928 to swimmer Rebecca Soni (gold and 2 silvers) and soccer player Amy Rodriguez (gold) in the 2008 Beijing Games, and many more in between.
--Trojan Olympic Sprinters: The list of USC sprinters in the Olympics includes such male gold medalists as Cliff Borah (1928), Cliff Bourland (1948), Roy Cochran (1948), Foy Draper (1936), Charles Paddock (1920 and 1924, "Chariots of Fire"), Mel Patton (1948), Frank Wykoff (1928-32-36) and Don Quarrie (1976, participated in 5 Games).
--USC Olympic Icons: Swimmer Buster Crabbe (later played Tarzan in movies), swimmers John Naber and Murrary Rose (4 golds each), thrower Bud Houser (3 golds in discus and shot), shot putter Parry O'Brien (2 golds), sprinters Charles Paddock and Mel Patton (2 golds), pole vaulter Bob Seagren, quarter miler Quincy Watts (2 golds), divers Michael Galitzen (4 medals), Sammy Lee and Paula Jean Myers Pope.
--Other storylines: Deaf swimmer Jeff Float (gold in 1984), high jumper Charles Dumas (first man over 7-feet), distance runner Louis Zamperini (subject of best-seller "Unbroken'), volleyballer Steve Timmons (red flattop haircut).
Some of USC's top Olympians:
Swimming--Lindsay Benko, Buster Crabbe, Jeff Float, Michelle Ford, Bruce Furniss, Jon Henricks, Katinka Housszu, Klete Keller, Lenny Krayzelburg, Ous Mellouli, John Naber, Murray Rose, Kaitlin Sandeno, Rebecca Soni
Track--Emil Breitkreutz, Ken Carpenter, Rex Cawley, Lillian Copeland, Charles Dumas, Bud Houser, Fred Kelly, Mike Larrabee, Lennox/Inger Miller, Parry O'Brien, Charles Paddock, Mel Patton, Don Quarrie, Alma Richards, Felix Sanchez, Bob Seagren, Moose Thompson, Quincy Watts, Frank Wykoff, Louis Zamperini
Basketball--Cynthia Cooper, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Tina Thompson
Volleyball--Dusty Dvorak, Steve Timmons
Diving--Michael Galitzen, Sammy Lee, Paula Jean Myers Pope
Fencing-Helene Mayer, Janice Lee York Romary
Water Polo--Miklos Martin
Club Swinging--George Roth