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Aiming for the gold

Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
USC alumna Rebecca Soni shoots for her second gold medal at the London Olympics this month. Pictured here, Soni waves from the podium during the medal ceremony after the Women's 200m Breaststroke Final at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. (Photo/Al Bello, Getty Images)

Continuing USC’s long tradition of nurturing successful Olympic athletes, more than 40 members of the Trojan Family are headed to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London this month.

From July 27 to Aug. 12, 41 Trojan athletes will represent 18 countries at the games, with seven others serving as coaches (See the Trojan Olympics viewing guide at USC’s new Olympics Central site).

“We are extremely proud of our unparalleled Olympic heritage, and we look forward to adding to that Olympic legacy during the 2012 London Games,” said Pat Haden, holder of USC’s Charles Griffin Cale Director of Athletics’ Chair. “With more than three dozen current and former Trojans participating in a variety of sports and representing numerous countries in London, I am excited to join with our fans in watching through cardinal- and gold-colored glasses these outstanding USC student-athletes compete at the highest level.”

USC has produced more Olympians, Olympic medalists and Olympic gold medalists than any other university in the United States. From 1904 to 2008, 396 Trojan athletes have competed in the games, taking home 123 gold medals — with at least one gold medal in every Summer Olympics since 1912 — 78 silver and 61 bronze. If USC were its own nation in the Olympics, it would rank 12th in the world in total gold medals earned.

Trojan Olympians have represented 57 different countries and have participated in 28 different sports. In addition, five Trojans have been inducted into the U.S. Olympics Hall of Fame: Janet Evans, Sammy Lee, John Naber, Parry O’Brien and Frank Wykoff.

This year, nine current USC students have been selected to participate in the games:

Haley Anderson qualified for the USA Olympic swim team in the marathon swimming 10K race thanks to a first-place finish at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in Portugal. She is majoring in communications.

Flora Bolonyai, a goalie on the Hungarian women’s water polo Olympic team, was an All-American second team selection in 2012. The economics/mathematics major is a two-time All-Academic honoree.

Aaron Brown will run in the 200-meter race representing Canada. In 2011, he won the 100-meter dash at the Trojan Tri-Meet as well as his first Dual Meet 100-meter dash title. Brown was a Dean’s List student as a freshman.

Dimitri Colupaev, who won conference titles in the 200-yard freestyle in 2011 and 2012, will swim for Germany’s 400- and 800-meter freestyle relay teams. He was a three-time All-American at USC as a freshman and sophomore.

Stina Gardell is the Swedish swimming record-holder in the 200- and 400-meter individual medley. At this year’s NCAA Championship, the USC All-American was fifth in the 200-yard individual medley and sixth in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Lynette Lim will represent Singapore’s swim team in the 400- and 800-meter freestyle events at the games. This will be her second trip to the Olympics, after going to Beijing in 2008. She is a kinesiology major with a grade point average above 3.5.

Josh Mance will run on USA’s 1600-meter relay squad in London after finishing fourth in the 400-meter dash at the Olympic Trials. The All-American’s personal-best time of 44.83 in the event is the fifth fastest in USC history.

Vladimir Morozov, USC’s best swimming sprinter in two decades, grew up in Siberia, Russia, but moved to the United States as a high school student. He has repeatedly broken USC records in the 50- and 100-yard freestyle.

Cristian Quintero is one of just two swimmers from Venezuela to qualify for the games, where he will swim several freestyle events. He was the runner-up in the 500-yard freestyle at the 2012 NCAA Championships, earning All-American honors.

In addition, seven members of the Trojan Family have been chosen as coaches for the games: Kevin Clements (current USC assistant coach) will be assistant coach for Austria’s men’s swimming; Robert Lynn (former USC player) will be assistant coach for U.S. men’s water polo; Teri McKeever (former USC swimmer) will be head coach for U.S. women’s swimming; Jamie Morrison (former USC assistant coach) will serve as assistant coach for U.S. women’s volleyball; Dave Salo (current USC coach) will be assistant coach for U.S. women’s swimming; Catherine Vogt (current USC assistant coach) will be assistant coach for Tunisia’s men’s swimming; and Paula Weishoff (former USC player) will serve as assistant coach for U.S. women’s volleyball.

Watch the video of the reception for USC Olympic athletes hosted by the USC Alumni Club of London.

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Aiming for the gold

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