Friday was historic for Texas Longhorns in the Olympics, as Texas athletes not only emerged victorious, but did so in ground-breaking fashion in the Rio games. Texas Ex Michelle Carter became the first U.S. woman to ever win gold in the shot put, while junior Joseph Schooling claimed Singapore’s first-ever gold medal after his 100-meter butterfly victory.
Carter, who graduated from Texas in 2007, notched an American record 19.59-meter toss on July 6th in the Olympic trials. However, she demolished that already-impressive hurl on Friday afternoon. On her final attempt in Rio, she launched the ball a personal best 20.63 meters, upsetting favorite Valerie Adams of New Zealand, who had a 20.42-meter throw.
"I knew I had more in the tank," Carter told reporters. "And to be able to go out there and put the pieces together and pull it out, I'm just really excited."
The 30-year old is the first American woman to earn gold in the event, and only the second to medal. The last U.S. woman’s medal was when Earlene Brown took bronze in the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Carter also claimed another notable feat — the first father-daughter duo to medal in the Olympics. Her father, Michael Carter, was a star defensive tackle for the 49ers, and earned a silver medal for shot put in 1984’s Los Angeles Olympics after winning a Super Bowl in the same year. Michael was Michelle’s coach for Rio.
"Of course, I can't wait until I get the medal and I can walk around the house and say 'Daddy, I got you,'" Michelle said.
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Joseph Schooling was another Texas name overtaking headlines on Friday. The 21-year old edged out Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly and broke the Olympic record with a stunning 50.39-second time. A three-way tie for second finished with 51.14 seconds.
Schooling was led by Texas head coach Eddie Reese in preparation for Rio. Now, both Longhorns are triumphant after Schooling won Singapore’s first-ever gold medal.
"This moment is not about me, it's all about my coaches, my friends, my family that believed that when I was a six year old kid that I could do it," Schooling said.
Earlier in Rio, Schooling had missed out on the 100-meter freestyle finals after finishing 16th overall in the semifinals. However, the butterfly has always been the Longhorns’ strongest event, as he was the NCAA champion for the 100 meter and 200 meter butterfly this past season.
This photo of Schooling with his idol, Michael Phelps, has gone viral since the Texas swimmer’s victory. It’s pretty amazing that Phelps has more Olympic gold medals (23) than Schooling has years of life (21).
Singapore provides a cash incentive for Olympic winners, and though Schooling is a student-athlete, he is allowed to claim rewards from the the Singaporean National Olympic Council. Schooling’s prize will be $740,000.
The next Torchy’s Taco is on you, Joseph.
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There are now six Longhorn gold medalists in Rio — Carter, Schooling, and swimmers Jack Conger, Townley Haas, Clark Smith, and Jimmy Feigen. If the University of Texas was a country, the literal burnt orange nation would be fifth in the world in the 2016 Olympics.