Athletics News
    USC To Conduct Year-Long Salute Of Its Olympic Heritage

    Lisa Leslie

    Aug. 22, 2011

    The USC athletic department, which has produced more Olympians, gold medalists and overall medalists than any other U.S. university, will conduct a year-long celebration of its tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes.

    The salute, themed "Cardinal and Gold Medal Heritage," was unveiled at Sunday's (Aug. 21) Salute to Troy football kickoff event and will lead up to the 2012 London Games. Among the planned activities are Trojan Olympians introduced at USC sports events, displays and banners at Heritage Hall, videoboard vignettes, featurettes on FSN Prime Ticket and ESPN Radio 710, and collaborative programming with campus departments.

    The celebration is part of the Pac-12 Conference's "Follow The Pac-12 To London" initiative to recognize the league's Olympic tradition prior to the 2012 Games.

    Since 1904, 393 Trojan athletes have competed in the Olympic Games (they have won 583 places on Olympic teams), taking home 122 gold medals (with at least 1 gold in every summer Olympics from 1912), 76 silver and 60 bronze.

    If USC competed as a country, its 258 total medals would be tied for 18th among all countries (while its 122 gold medals would be tied for 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.

    "We are extremely proud of our unparalleled Olympic heritage and, with the 2012 Olympic Games on the horizon, we felt it was important to salute and acknowledge that tradition," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "I know our fans will be as excited as I am to see our past and current Olympians and to relive the many successes that Trojan athletes have had in Olympic competition."

    Among the more iconic USC Olympians are swimmers John Naber (4 golds), Murray Rose (4 golds), Lenny Krayzelburg, Rebecca Soni and Buster Crabbe, track's Louis Zamperini, Bob Seagren, Quincy Watts, Parry O'Brien, Mel Patton, Charles Dumas and Charles Paddock, basketball's Lisa Leslie (4 golds), Cheryl Miller, Cynthia Cooper and Tina Thompson, soccer's Amy Rodriguez, volleyball's Steve Timmons and Paula Weishoff and diver Sammy Lee.

    A number of current USC student-athletes have participated in the Olympics, including swimmers Katinka Hosszu, Clement Lefert, Richard Charlesworth, Lynette Lim and Christel Simms.