The belated 2020 Summer Olympics had its opening ceremony in Tokyo on July 23. Among the athletes who took part in the games over the next 16 days were 29 who had ties to the University of Texas, either as current or former athletes, incoming freshmen, or committed recruits. Some of them had disappointing finishes in Tokyo compared with their past performances, but the Longhorn contingent at the Olympics had a successful run, by any measure.
Those 29 athletes came home with 11 total medals (6 gold, 4 silver, and 1 bronze). If UT were its own country, those 11 medals would have tied it with the Czech Republic and Denmark for 23rd on the 2020 Olympics medal count, and only 14 countries won more than 6 gold medals.
The Olympic games had their closing ceremony last Sunday, and in the final weekend of competition three former Longhorn athletes playing for Team USA in various team sports all won gold medals.
This site posted periodic updates during the games focused on the results of those athletes with UT ties, and with the games now concluded this post will serve partly as an update on the final weekend of Olympic action that followed the last update (published on the afternoon of August 6), and partly as a recap of how each of those 29 athletes performed at the games. So this post will necessarily repeat information that was included in previous Olympic updates, and will delve into a bit of speculation on which of these Olympians are strong contenders to compete again at future Olympic games.
Even those who didn’t earn medals or come particularly close to doing so during the just-concluded 2020 summer games have earned the right to be recognized as Olympians, and will forevermore be named in future versions of the list of All-Time UT Olympians.
Kevin Durant (USA) - Gold Medal
After a pedestrian start to the 2020 Olympics, by his standards, Kevin Durant shook off some poor shooting games in group play and led Team USA in scoring in each of its three tournament games, averaging 27 points per game as the U.S. beat Spain, Australia, and France to win its fourth straight Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball.
France had beaten the U.S. 83-76 in the teams’ first game in group play on July 25, a game in which Durant made just 4 of 12 field goal attempts and France outscored the U.S. by 15 points in the second half. Durant helped ensure there would be no repeat of that result, scoring 27 of his 29 points of the gold medal match in the first three quarters. He was largely kept in check in the final frame, but his only two points in that quarter were important ones: a pair of free throws that gave the U.S. a five-point lead with just eight seconds left on the clock.
The win by Team USA gave Kevin Durant his third Olympic gold medal, which put him in a select group of Longhorns to win three or more gold medals. That group also includes swimmers Rick Carey, Ian Crocker, Josh Davis, Gary Hall, Jr., Brendan Hansen, and Aaron Peirsol; and sprinter Sanya Richards-Ross. Durant is the only Longhorn athlete to win three Olympic gold medals in a team sport. He is also one of three Longhorns to win Olympic gold in men’s basketball, along with Gib Ford (captain of the 1956 U.S. Olympic basketball team), and Jay Arnette (a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team that had four future basketball Hall-of-Famers on its roster).
Along with his three gold medals, Durant also now owns Team USA’s career scoring record for Olympic play; he passed Carmelo Anthony on the career Olympic scoring list during the win over the Czech Republic.
Will the 2020 games be Durant’s final Olympic appearance? When the 2024 Summer Olympics come around he’ll be 35 years old and will have just completed the second season of a four-year, $198 million contract extension that he signed with the Brooklyn Nets last week.
Yvonne Anderson (Serbia) - 4th place
Anderson was not initially named on the press release by UT Athletics that listed the Longhorn Olympians in Tokyo, but she was added later when that release was edited. As such, I did not mention her in my previous Olympic updates.
Since graduating from Texas in 2012, she has played professionally overseas for clubs in Sweden, Luxembourg, Turkey, Greece, and Italy. During one of her stints in Turkey she played for a club coached by Marina Maljkovic, who has served as the head coach of the Serbian women’s national basketball team since 2011. Due to her experience playing for Malkjovic, Anderson later applied for Serbian citizenship, and was granted it in 2020.
Since joining the Serbian national team in November of 2020, Anderson has been one of its top players. She was Serbia’s leading scorer when it defeated France 63-54 in June in the EuroBasket Women 2021 tournament. Though she didn’t start in any of Serbia’s six games at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Anderson led the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game.
Serbia went 2-1 in group play and advanced to the quarterfinal round. After beating China 77-70 in the quarterfinals, Serbia lost 79-59 in the semifinals to the eventual gold medal winner Team USA. In the bronze medal game, France avenged their loss to Serbia from earlier in the summer at the EuroBasket women’s tournament final, winning 91-76 despite Anderson scoring a game-high 24 points.
This was Anderson’s first Olympic competition. She is 31 years old, and, remarkably, only five of the twelve players on Serbia’s Olympic roster were younger than her. So she may very well be an Olympian again at age 34 if she’s still one of Serbia’s top players in 2024.
Ariel Atkins (USA) - Gold Medal
Team USA defeated Japan 90-75 in the women’s basketball gold medal game on Saturday night. It was the seventh straight Olympic gold medal won by Team USA, and the ninth gold medal won in the span of ten Olympic games. Ariel Atkins did not see action until late in the proceedings, as she subbed in for Sue Bird at guard with 3:03 left in regulation with the U.S. leading 86-68. In her three minutes of playing time she scored two points, grabbed an offensive rebound, and committed a pair of turnovers.
In Team USA’s six games at the Olympics, Atkins — who was by far the shortest player on the team at 5’1”, and the third youngest — played in just 33:17 overall. She turned 25 during the Olympics, and will turn 28 during the 2024 games. If she is part of Team USA at the next Olympic games she won’t have to beat out the legendary Sue Bird for playing time at point guard. Bird, who turns 41 in October, has said 2020 would be her last Olympics, and she left Tokyo with her fifth career gold medal.
Atkins is in her fourth season with the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, the team that selected her with the 7th overall pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft. She made her first all-star team this season, and is currently averaging 16.8 points, 3.5 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game. She was jointed on Team USA by her Mystics teammate Tina Charles, an 8-time all-star who leads the WNBA in scoring in 2021 with an average of 26.3 points per game, which would be the highest single-season scoring average in WNBA history if she keeps it up. The WNBA season was paused for the Summer Olympics, but will soon resume, and Atkins and the Mystics will play their first post-Olympics game on Sunday, August 15.
Atkins is the third Longhorn to win an Olympic gold medal as a player on a U.S. women’s basketball team. Kamie Ethridge and Andrea Lloyd both played on the gold medal-winning 1988 U.S. women’s team at that year’s Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Another former Longhorn player, Nell Fortner, won a gold medal as head coach of Team USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
Jordan Windle (USA) - 10-meter platform (9th place)
Windle, who was born in Cambodia and later adopted by an American man after being orphaned as a baby, competed in the 10-meter platform in his first Olympic appearance last week. The competition began with 29 competitors, and Windle scored high enough to advance through the preliminary and semifinal rounds and into the finals, which began very early on Saturday morning with a group that had been wittled down to 12 divers. He was tied for 7th after the first of six dives in the final, and never improved his placement after that. He finished the competition with the 9th best overall score.
A four-time Big 12 Men’s Diver of the Year, Windle is just 22 years old and may very well have another chance or two to compete in the Olympics. His fellow Olympic finalists in the 10-meter platform last week included three teenagers from the Ukraine, Japan, and Brazil, but the top five finishers in the event were all between ages 26 and 30.
Alison Gibson (USA) - synchronized 3-meter springboard (8th place)
Gibson was one of the first Longhorns to compete in Tokyo. On July 25, she and Krysta Palmer (who was reportedly diving with a torn ACL) were among the eight duos in the synchronized 3-meter springboard final. They started off well and were atop the leader board after the first two dives, which had the lowest degree of difficulty among the five dives that each team did. But they posted the lowest scores on both the third and fourth dives, and their total score dropped from 1st to 8th. Their fifth and final dive, a forward 2 1⁄2 somersaults with 2 twists, had the highest degree of difficulty (3.4) of any dive attempted by any of the teams in the competition, and though they received a decent score on it, it did not improve their standing, and the pair finished with the lowest total score.
Gibson, who turned 22 in July, was competing in her first Olympics. Palmer, who is 29 and didn’t even begin competing in diving until age 20, also competed in the 3-meter springboard in Tokyo and won the bronze medal. She was the first American female to win an individual medal in an Olympic diving competition since 2000, when former Longhorn Laura Wilkinson won gold in the 10-meter platform.
Hailey Hernandez (USA) - 3-meter springboard (9th place)
Hernandez, an incoming UT freshman, competed in the 3-meter springboard at the Olympic games less than two months after graduating from Carroll Senior High in Southlake, Texas. She finished 6th out of 27 divers in the preliminary round to advance to the semifinals, then finished 10th out of the 18 semifinalists to reach the final in the event. On August 1, she placed 9th in the 3-meter springboard final. At 18 years old, she was the youngest (by five months) of the 12 divers to reach the final; six of the eight divers who finished ahead of her were 26 or older.
By the time of the 2024 Olympics, she’ll be 21 and will have just finished her junior year at UT, so she’s another Longhorn who will be a strong contender to represent Team USA again at future Olympic games.
Jhonattan Vegas (Venezuela) - tied for 16th place
Vegas, the only Longhorn ever to represent Venezuela at the Olympics, made his return to the games after competing in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, where he finished 50th out of the 60 golfers entered (one of whom did not finish). He improved on his Rio finish at the 2020 Olympic men’s golf tournament, which was held at the Kasumigaseki Country Club from July 29 to August 1. He carded an overall score of -11, which tied him for 16th among the 60 Olympians in the tournament. He was seven shots behind the gold medalist, American Xander Schauffele, and four shots behind the seven golfers who tied for 3rd place and had to go to a playoff to decide the bronze medalist.
Of interest to UT fans who follow the PGA might be the fact that Vegas finished one shot ahead of Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed, who have both won PGA major tournaments within the past four years. He will turn 37 next week.
Gia Doonan (USA) - Women’s Eight (4th place)
Doonan, a Massachusetts native who was named the Big 12 Conference Rower of the Year for 2015 and 2017, was a member of the United States women’s eight rowing crew in Tokyo, and in earning that spot she became the first Longhorn to compete in rowing at the Olympics. Her team won their preliminary heat to automatically advance to the final, then in the final race they finished in 4th place, 3.65 seconds behind the winning team from Canada, and 1.57 seconds behind the bronze medal-winning team from China. Doonan turned 27 a few weeks before the start of the 2020 Olympics and will be 30 at the beginning of the 2024 games.
Julia Grosso (Canada) - Gold Medal
Grosso was the first Longhorn to compete in soccer at the Olympics, and she capped off her first Olympic experience with what was arguably one of the biggest Summer Olympic moments in Canada’s history.
Grosso, a midfielder who will turn 21 later this month, did not even play in Canada’s first group game, a 1-1 draw with host Japan. But she substituted in during each of her team’s other games, starting with a 2-1 win over Chile and a 1-1 tie with Great Britain. Canada’s 1-0-2 record in group play was good enough to advance into the quarterfinals, and Grosso and company advanced into the women’s soccer gold medal game with a penalty kick shootout win over Brazil (after the game was tied 0-0 at the end of regulation) in the quarterfinals, and a 1-0 semifinal round win over Team USA that was ultimately decided by a goal on a penalty kick in the 74th minute.
In the gold medal match, Canada and Sweden were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation, and after neither country scored in the two extra time periods the game went to a penalty kick shootout. After a very close call at the end of the first round of penalty kicks, the teams were tied at two made goals apiece. After Sweden missed their first attempt of the next round, up stepped Grosso to potentially win the game and the gold medal for Canada. She had not started in the match but substituted in at the start of the second half and played for the rest of the match, a total of 75 minutes. She aimed her kick for the left corner of the goal, and though the Swedish goalie deflected it the ball still found the net to give Canada the win.
Grosso’s golden goal gave Canada its first gold medal in women’s soccer at the Olympic games, and its first gold medal in any team sport at the Summer Olympics since it won in lacrosse in 1908 (the last time lacrosse was a competition sport at the Olympics).
Grosso was the third-youngest member of Team Canada, and one of just seven players on its roster who were younger than 25. So there’s a very good chance that she’ll have more Olympic experiences in the years to come. Until then, fans can see her and the Texas Longhorn soccer team in action as soon as the end of this month. UT’s first home game of the 2021 season will be on Sunday, August 29 vs. Georgetown. See the team’s full schedule here.
Cat Osterman (USA) - Silver Medal
Osterman won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2004 Olympics, and also played on the team that won the silver medal in 2008. Softball was not part of the program for the next two summer Olympic games, but once it was announced that the sport would make its Olympic return in 2020, Osterman came out of retirement to pitch one last time for Team USA.
At age 38, she was the oldest member of the U.S. Olympic softball team, but her play on the field did little to betray her age. In four appearances (including three starts) at the 2020 Olympics, she gave up no runs in 14.2 innings pitched, while allowing just 4 hits and striking out 15 batters.
Osterman got the start at pitcher in the gold medal game against Japan, who the U.S. had beaten 2-1 in the last game of pool play. She pitched two shutout innings, but was removed after walking the first batter in the top of the 3rd inning, and though relief pitcher Ally Carda finished that inning without incident, she would later allow two runs. Those two runs for Japan were huge in a game in which the American bats went cold and they got some very unlucky breaks on balls they did make contact with. Team USA only managed to produce three hits and two walks in the game and was held scoreless.
The loss in the gold medal game resulted in Osterman coming home once again with a disappointing silver medal. The 2020 games were her third and final Olympics, and there is currently no word on when softball itself will make its next appearance at the games, as it is not currently on the program for the 2024 Olympics.
Caspar Corbeau (The Netherlands) - 100 meter breaststroke (did not place) and 200 meter breaststroke (did not place)
Corbeau is the second Longhorn to represent The Netherlands at the Olympics, the first being distance runner Kamiel Maase, a three-time Olympian (2000, 2004, 2008). Though born in California, Corbeau has swam in international competitions for The Netherlands since he was 14; he has dual citizenship because his paternal grandparents were Dutch.
In Tokyo, Corbeau swam in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke events. He finished 7th in his preliminary heat in the 100 breaststroke and did not advance to the semifinals. He did likewise in the prelims for the 200m breaststroke three days later, and did not advance to that event’s semifinals either. He is just 20 years old and was competing in his first Olympics.
Townley Haas (USA) - 200 meter freestyle (did not place) and 4x200 meter freestyle relay (4th place)
Haas made his second trip to the Olympics this year after previously competing at the 2016 games at age 19. In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, he finished 5th in the 200 meter freestyle and was a member of the gold medal-winning 4x200 meter freestyle relay. He did not duplicate or improve upon that success as a 24-year-old Olympian in Tokyo. In the 200m freestyle he got as far as the semifinals but finished 5th in his heat with a time of 1:46.07, a full second shy of his personal best, and 0.36 seconds behind the last qualifier for the final heat.
He also swam the anchor leg of the 4x200 meter freestyle relay, and his time of 1:44.87 in the final heat was the fifth-fastest split out of the 32 swimmers participating in that race. But Haas was forced to play catch-up with the U.S. in 5th place at the start of his leg after a very slow (1:47.31) third leg swum by Zach Apple, who less than two hours earlier had swum in a semifinal heat for the 100m freestyle, and who two days earlier had swum a very fast split in anchoring the U.S. to a gold medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay. Apple actually began his third leg very well and briefly took the lead in the race, and 150 meters into his leg he had the U.S. in 2nd place and narrowly trailed the leading British team, but he ran out of gas in his last 50 meters and was passed by three other swimmers, and by the time he touched the wall to give the proverbial baton to Haas, the U.S. was 2.43 seconds behind Great Britain.
Despite Haas’s fast anchor leg, the U.S. team (which also included fellow Longhorn Drew Kibler swimming the second leg) finished 4th, nearly four seconds behind the winning team from Great Britain, and 0.59 seconds behind the 3rd place Australian team. The 4x200 meter freestyle relay has been included in every summer Olympics since 1908, and this marked the first time the U.S. had failed to win a medal in the event (not including the boycotted 1980 Olympics in Moscow).
Drew Kibler (USA) - 4x200 meter freestyle relay (4th place)
In his only Olympic event, Kibler swam a pretty good second leg of the U.S. 4x200 meter freestyle relay and had his team in 2nd place as he touched the wall at the end of his turn. But, as explained above, the Americans’ chances of winning or even getting on the medal stand were undone when third leg swimmer Zach Apple faltered in the last 50 meters of his swim. Kibler is 21 and was a first-time Olympian.
Joseph Schooling (Singapore) - 100 meter freestyle (did not place) and 100 meter butterfly (did not place)
Like his former Longhorn teammate Townley Haas, Schooling made a return trip to the Olympics in Tokyo after winning a gold medal in Rio in 2016. At those 2016 games, Schooling upset Michael Phelps to win the gold medal in the 100 meter butterfly, with his winning time of 50.39 setting a new Olympic record (since broken). Schooling’s late great uncle Lloyd Valberg competed in the high jump at the 1948 Olympics and was the first Olympic athlete to represent Singapore. With his win in the 100 meter butterfly in 2016, Schooling (then 21 years old) became Singapore’s first Olympic gold medalist.
The 2020 Olympics were not so golden for him, as he failed to advance out of the preliminary heats in either of his two events. He finished 6th in his prelim heat in the 100m freestyle, and finished last in his prelim heat for the 100m butterfly, finishing with a time that was 2.73 seconds slower than his Olympic record time from 2016.
The 2020 Tokyo games were Schooling’s third — and possibly final — Olympics. At age 17 he qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London and swam in the 100m butterfly, but didn’t advance to the semifinals. He turned 26 in June.
Anna Elendt (Germany) - 100 meter breaststroke (did not place) and 4x100 meter medley relay (did not place)
Elendt, who last spring completed her freshman year at UT, competed in a pair of events in Tokyo. She reached the semifinals of the 100 meter breaststroke, but finished 7th in her heat (1.59 seconds behind her future Longhorn teammate Lydia Jacoby) and did not advance to the final. Four days later in the first heat of the 4x100 meter medley relay, she and the German team finished 6th and did not advance to the final heat.
Elendt turns 20 next month.
Joanna Evans (The Bahamas) - 200 meter freestyle (did not place) and 400 meter freestyle (did not place)
Evans competed at the 2016 Olympics in the 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyle races, but did not advance beyond her first heat in any of them. In Tokyo, she again competed in the two shorter distances and greatly improved on her 2016 time in the 200m and marginally improved her 400m time, but neither performance was fast enough to advance into the semifinal heats.
Evans turned 24 while in Tokyo, and if nothing else her place is secure among the greatest all-time Bahamian female swimmers. She currently holds the national records at every freestyle distance from 200 to 1,500 meters, and also holds the records in the 200m and 400m individual medleys.
Lydia Jacoby (USA) - 100 meter breaststroke (Gold Medal), 4x100 meter medley relay (Silver Medal), and mixed 4x100 meter medley relay (5th place)
Jacoby, a 17-year-old incoming high school senior who has committed to the University of Texas swimming program, had one of the best early finishes for the American swim team when she won the gold medal in the 100 meter breaststroke. After the race’s first 50 meters she was in 3rd place behind her American teammate Lilly King, the world record-holder and defending Olympic champion, and South African Tatjana Schoenmaker, who had broken that event’s Olympic record in her prelim heat. But Jacoby overtook both of them in the race’s last 50 meters to win by 0.26 seconds.
With her victory she became the first Alaskan to win a swimming medal at an Olympic games. This was all the more remarkable because she had done most of her pre-Olympic training while living in a state that had only one Olympic-size pool.
She swam the second leg of the mixed 4x100 meter medley relay a few days later, and the American team finished in 5th place and well short of the medal-winning times. She then narrowly missed winning her second gold medal when she swam the second leg of the 4x100 meter medley relay, as the U.S. led for much of the race but ultimately lost to Australia by 0.13 seconds and settled for the silver medal.
When the 2024 Olympics begin, Jacoby will be 20 years old and a veteran of two NCAA swimming seasons at Texas, so this is likely not the last we’ve heard of her as far as the Olympics are concerned.
Remedy Rule (The Philippines) - 100 meter butterfly (did not place) and 200 meter butterfly (did not place)
Rule, the first Longhorn Olympian to represent The Philippines, finished 2nd in her preliminary heat of the 100 meter butterfly, but did not record a time fast enough to advance into the semifinals. She later finished in 6th and last place in her preliminary heat of the 200 meter butterfly, but got a spot in the semifinals because only 16 swimmers had competed in the prelims. She went on to finish last in her semifinal heat with a time of 2:12.89, at least three seconds short of her personal best.
She turns 25 next month and said before the games that she would retire from competitive swimming after the Olympics to focus on her graduate studies at the University of Miami. A Virginia native, Rule swam in three events at the 2012 U.S. Olympic swimming trials at age 15, had a solid swimming career at Texas, and in 2019 began representing The Philippines (her mother’s native country) in international competition. In her brief career representing that country, she set new national records in the 100m and 200m freestyle, as well as the 100m and 200m butterfly, and was a member of three national record-setting relay teams.
Erica Sullivan (USA) - 1,500 meter freestyle (Silver Medal)
Sullivan, a first-time Olympian at age 20 (she turned 21 this week), did not win a gold medal but turned in one of the most impressive 2nd place performances during the Olympic swimming competition. Swimming in the grueling 1,500 meter freestyle in that event’s Olympic debut, she spent roughly 70% of the race in 5th place, but her patient strategy and consistent pace in the last 2⁄3 of the race allowed her to overtake every swimmer ahead of her save the world record-holder Katie Ledecky, who won the gold medal by four seconds over Sullivan.
The 1,500 meter freestyle is a swim that takes 30 lengths of the pool, with each length being 50 meters. Sullivan was in 6th place after 450 meters, and in 5th place after 1,100 meters. In her last 20 lengths of the race she swam a split time of 31.50 or better on 19 of them, a pace no other swimmer in the competition maintained. This allowed her to slowly but surely eat up the distance separating her from the three swimmers between her and Ledecky, who led throughout the race. The top four swimmers were all three seconds ahead of Sullivan after 500 meters, but she moved into 2nd place with 200 meters to go, and ended up finishing a full second and a half ahead of the bronze medalist, Sarah Kohler of Germany. Each of Sullivan’s last ten 50-meter lengths came in at under 31.4 seconds, while Kohler swam as fast for only ten lengths total.
Sullivan graduated high school in 2018, but a combination of family tragedy, mental health struggles, and the Covid-19 pandemic led to a delay in the start of her college career. After originally committing to USC, she announced her commitment to Texas in September 2020, and she will enroll in Austin this fall.
Men’s Track & Field
Ryan Crouser (USA) - shot put (Gold Medal)
Crouser, who set an Olympic record when he won the shot put at the 2016 Olympics, not only defended his title in Tokyo but he broke his own Olympic record three different times during the competition.
In his first throw of the shot put final, Crouser put the shot 22.83 meters, topping his 2016 Olympic record of 22.52 meters (73’10.5”). That record only lasted for one round, as his next throw flew 22.93 meters. That throw held up through the rest of the competition, and once fellow American Joe Kovacs’s final throw did not improve on his own 22.65 throw from earlier, that all but clinched the gold medal for Crouser. But on his last throw he uncorked one last Olympic record throw of 23.30 meters (76’5.25”) just for good measure, which was just three inches shy of the world record he set in June at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Crouser became the first American to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the shot put since Parry O’Brien, who won the event at the 1952 and 1956 Olympics. No one has ever won the shot put at the Olympics three times, though two previous two-time winners (Parry O’Brien and Ralph Rose, winner at the 1904 and 1908 games) settled for the silver medal when they attempted to achieve a third straight gold.
Could Crouser become the first man to win a third gold in the shot put? He’s unquestionably the best shot putter in the world, and the best the event has ever seen. He’s 28 now and will be 31 at the time of the 2024 Olympics.
Jonathan Jones (Barbados) - 400 meters (did not place)
Jones is the first Longhorn athlete to represent Barbados at the Olympics. He finished 2nd in his preliminary heat of the 400 meters (behind American Michael Cherry) and ran a time of 45.04. The top three finishers in each prelim heat automatically advanced to the semifinals, but that was as far as Jones got. In his semifinal heat he fell far short of his prelim time, finishing last out of the eight runners in his heat with a time of 45.61, while the heat was led by eventual gold medalist Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas (44.14).
Jones is 22 years old, and with his prelim performance in Tokyo he now owns the four fastest outdoor 400 meter times ever run by a Longhorn, with his best being a 44.63 that he ran in 2019. He also owns the Barbadian national record in that event.
Steffin McCarter (USA) - long jump (did not place)
McCarter jumped a near personal best 27’1” (8.26 meters) at the Olympic Trials in June, but did not perform as well in Tokyo. At the long jump qualification round McCarter only had the 7th best jump in his flight, with a top jump of 7.92 meters (just under 26 feet). Since he was not one of the top twelve jumpers in the qualifying round he did not advance to the final.
McCarter is 24 and his personal best jump of 27’1.25” — which he achieved in March at the Longhorn Invitational — is the longest of any Longhorn not named Eric Metcalf or Marquise Goodwin. Metcalf’s 27’8.25” jump in 1988 remains the school record. Had McCarter equaled his personal best while in Tokyo he would have won the bronze medal. The gold medal went to Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, who jumped 8.41 meters (a little over 27’7”).
Women’s Track & Field
Teahna Daniels (USA) - 100 meters (7th place) and 4x100 meter relay (Silver Medal)
Daniels, who ran the third-fastest 100 meter time in UT history (10.99) at the NCAA Championships in 2019, ran well in her first two 100 meter heats in Tokyo. She won her prelim heat with a 11.04 second run, then finished 3rd in her semifinal heat with a personal best 10.98 and qualified for the final heat. She ran another good time — an 11.02 — in the final, but wasn’t nearly fast enough to get onto the medal stand, as Jamaican runners Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Shericka Jackson swept the top three places. Thompson-Herah set a new Olympic record with her winning time of 10.61, while Jackson clocked a 10.76 in winning the bronze. Daniels finished in 7th place.
Six days later, Daniels helped make up for that finish by running the second leg on the U.S. 4x100 meter relay team, which won the silver medal in a time of 41.45 and finished well behind the winning Jamaican team, which set a national record with its time of 41.02.
Daniels is 24 and also owns the second-fastest 200 meter time in UT history (22.51), but she did not qualify for the final in that event at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Tara Davis (USA) - long jump (6th place)
Davis set a new NCAA long jump record in March at the Texas Relays with a jump of 7.14 meters (23’5.25”), and jumped 7.04 meters (23’1.25”) in June to finish 2nd at the U.S. Olympic Trials, but she was unable to duplicate either of those performances in Tokyo.
In the long jump qualifying round, she flew 6.85 meters on her first attempt and easily met the automatic qualifying standard (6.75 meters) to advance to the final. But two days later in the long jump final, she only managed to jump 6.84 meters, nearly a foot shy of her personal best, and she finished in 6th place. Gold medalist Malaika Mihambo of Germany jumped 7.00 meters (just over 22’11.5”), a distance both Davis and fellow American Brittney Reese (who won the silver with a jump of 6.97 meters) had surpassed on multiple jumps at the Olympic Trials.
Reese, at age 34, was competing in her fourth and possibly final Olympics. She had previously won the gold medal in the long jump at the 2012 Olympics and silver in 2016. Davis, a world-class long jumper at just 22 years old, should have more chances to win Olympic hardware, as she’ll still be in her 20s even when the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles begin.
Melissa Gonzalez (Colombia) - 400 meter hurdles
Gonzalez was a member of the UT track & field team from 2013 to 2016 and was an All-American in 2015. In international competitions she has represented her father’s native country, Colombia, since at least 2016. She is the first Longhorn to represent Colombia at the Olympics, and was a first-time Olympian this year at age 27.
In her preliminary heat for the 400 meter hurdles, she finished 2nd with a time of 55.32 seconds and broke her own Colombian national record in the race, much to the delight of her husband David Blough (the former Purdue quarterback, whose birthday was the day of her prelim run) and his Detroit Lions teammates, who watched the race live from team headquarters.
Whole squad is behind you, Mel pic.twitter.com/rKpNko2KUI— Detroit Lions (@Lions) July 31, 2021
She did not fare as well in the semifinals, running far under her personal best with a time of 57.47 and finishing 6th in her heat, which ended her Olympic run. Will 2020 be her only Olympics? That’s yet to be determined, but she’ll turn 30 a month before the start of the 2024 games in Paris.
Chantel Malone (British Virgin Islands) - long jump (12th place)
Malone is the first Longhorn Olympian to represent the British Virgin Islands. (Former Longhorn sprinter Allison Peter represented the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2012 Olympics.) She was a six-time All-American at Texas in indoor and outdoor track & field between 2009 and 2011, and is among the top five all-time female Longhorns in both the outdoor long jump and triple jump. She also holds the British Virgin Islands national records in the long jump and triple jump, and is tied with two others for the high jump record (1.65 meters, or just under 5’5”).
She jumped a personal-best 7.08 meters (about 23’2.75”) at a meet in March, becoming just the second Caribbean woman to long jump 7 meters. Competing in Tokyo as a first-time Olympian at age 29, she qualified for the long jump finals after jumping 6.82 meters on her third and final attempt in the qualification round. But she was not able to match either that performance or her personal best from March (which would have been good enough to win gold) in the final, topping out at 6.50 meters on her first jump. After three jumps she was in last place among the 12 finalists, and her Olympics were over at that point, as only the top eight jumpers got three more attempts in the long jump final.
Pedrya Seymour (The Bahamas) - 100 meter hurdles (did not place)
Seymour began her college career at Illinois, but transferred to Texas before her senior year and was an NCAA indoor and outdoor All-American in 2018. She competed in the 100 meter hurdles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and after setting a Bahamian national record by running a 12.64 in her semifinal heat, she went on to finish 6th in the final with a time of 12.76.
Her second trip to the Olympics was not as successful. In Tokyo, she finished 4th in her prelim heat of the 100m hurdles with a time of 13.04 and qualified for the semifinals, but in her semifinal heat she finished last in 13.09 and did not advance. Seymour turned 26 in May and will be 29 at the start of the 2024 Olympics.
Stacey Ann Williams (Jamaica) - 4x400 meter relay (Bronze Medal) and mixed 4x400 meter relay (7th place)
Williams began her college track career at Southern University in New Orleans and won numerous NAIA national championships in 2019. She transferred to Texas in 2020, and in 2021 she was the Big 12’s 400 meter champion at both the conference indoor and outdoor meets. She ran a personal best time of 50.34 in May to put her among the top four all-time female Longhorn 400m runners. She ran on two relay teams for her native Jamaica in Tokyo as a first-time Olympian.
She was one of two women on Jamaica’s mixed 4x400 meter relay, which made its Olympic debut this year. In that event’s first heat she ran the third leg and recorded a 50.28 split time to help Jamaica finish 3rd and advance to the final with a time of 3:11.76. She ran the 2nd leg in the final heat, and the Jamaican team ran three seconds behind its first heat in 3:14.95 and finished in 7th place.
Five days later she ran the anchor leg of Jamaica’s women’s 4x400 meter relay team, carrying the baton for the final 51.57 seconds of the race as Jamaica finished 2nd in its first heat with a time of 3:21.95 and advanced to the final. In the final heat, Williams was replaced on the anchor leg by Candice McLeod, who had finished 5th in the 400m final with a time of 49.87 the previous day. In the 4x400m relay final, Jamaica ran a 3:21.24 to finish in 3rd place behind Poland (3:20.53) and the United States (3:16.85). Though Williams did not run in the final, she was awarded a bronze medal for having run on the relay during its earlier heat. A Longhorn runner has won a medal in the women’s 4x400 meter relay at each of the past six Olympic games, according to UT Athletics.
Williams is 22 and has at least another year of collegiate eligibility remaining at Texas.
Women’s Indoor Volleyball
Chiaka Ogbogu (USA) - Gold Medal
Ogbogu will go down in history as a member of the very first U.S. women’s volleyball team to win gold at the Olympics. The U.S. had reached the gold medal match on three prior occasions but had never won. Ogbogu did not play in the final against Brazil, which the U.S. won in straight sets: 25-21, 25-20, and 25-14. Out of the eight games Team USA played in Tokyo, she saw action in only three pool play matches and did not play at all in three tournament games. In tournament play, the U.S. women swept the Dominican Republic, Serbia, and Brazil, all in straight sets.
Team USA’s win in the volleyball final resulted in the third gold medal won by a former Longhorn in a team sport during the Olympics’ final weekend of competition. Kevin Durant and Ariel Atkins both won gold medals in basketball in the same weekend.
Ogbogu was a four-time All-American while at Texas from 2013 to 2017 and was the Big 12 Player of the Year as a senior in 2017. Since the end of her college career she has played professionally in Italy, Poland, and Turkey. She is 26 years old and the 2020 games were her first Olympic appearance. She is the fourth Longhorn to play on an Olympic volleyball team.
As of the end of the 2020 Olympic games there have now been around 191 Texas Longhorn athletes who have been Olympians. I say “around” because the pre-Olympic press release from UT Athletics said that “159 University of Texas athletes have participated in the Olympics”, while the department’s list of All-Time Olympians (which, as of this writing, has not yet been updated to include the 22 first-time Olympians who competed in Tokyo) includes 171 names, and it’s missing at least two early Longhorn Olympians. So the math is a bit fuzzy on that point.
In any case, those UT Olympians have represented a total of 30 countries or territories: the United States, Antigua, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Great Britain, Haiti, Iceland, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, The Philippines, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, the British Virgin Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Venezuela.
By the conclusion of the 2024 Summer Olympics, the list of UT’s all-time Olympians will very likely be well over 200. Congrats to all who competed in Tokyo, and especially to all those who brought home Olympic hardware.