Quite simply, this was the greatest Olympic Games in USC history.
USC’s overall medal count of 25 — 12 gold, nine silver and four bronze medals — marks the most ever won by the university in a single Olympics, breaking the school record of 24 at the Los Angeles Games in 1984. Troy’s 12 gold medals is another new record, eclipsing the 10 golds won at both the 1948 London and 2008 Beijing games.
In addition, the 25 total medals were the most won by an American university this year. If USC athletes had competed as a country, they would have placed sixth in the gold medal standings and 11th in overall medals.
“Trojan athletes inspired us all during the London Olympics,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “Their outstanding accomplishments will stand forever, and the USC community takes tremendous pride in the collective glory that they have brought to our university.”
Forty-one Trojan athletes competed in London this year, representing 18 countries and participating in seven sporting events. Seven coaches with USC ties served on Olympic staffs.
Former Trojan swimmer Amanda Weir claimed the first medal of the games for USC, winning a bronze in the 400-meter freestyle relay.
The following day, French swimmer Clement Lefert, a former Trojan All-American, grabbed a gold in the 400-meter freestyle relay, extending USC’s streak of winning at least one gold medal at every Summer Olympics since 1912.
“We are extremely proud of every Trojan athlete who competed at the 2012 London Olympics,” said Pat Haden, holder of USC’s Charles Griffin Cale Director of Athletics’ Chair and director of athletics. “Based on their performances and the medals they won, this is the most successful class of USC Olympians ever. Considering our long Olympic heritage, that is a remarkable achievement. It is safe to say that USC is the ‘Home of Olympians.’ ”
Throughout the games, the Women of Troy led the way. Both American swimmer Rebecca Soni and sprinter Allyson Felix captured three medals in London, tying Australian swimmer Murray Rose for the USC record of six career medals. Soni got a pair of golds in the 200-meter breaststroke and 400-meter medley relay, and a silver in the 100-meter breaststroke, while Felix won golds in the 200-meter dash, 400-meter relay and 1600-meter relay.
Two other Trojan swimmers were double medalists in London. Lefert took the silver in the 800-meter freestyle relay and Tunisia’s Ous Mellouli grabbed the gold in the marathon swim 10k and bronze in the 1500-meter freestyle.
USC’s other London gold medalists were U.S. water polo players Kami Craig, Lauren Wenger and Tumua Anae, American soccer player Amy Rodriguez and 400-meter-hurdler Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic.
And of course, the Olympics are always about stories of patriotism, passion and perseverance.
Track and field athlete Bryshon Nellum, who was a victim of a random gunshot attack as a freshman, fought back to become America’s top 400-meter runner and push Team USA to a silver medal alongside Trojan teammate Josh Mance in the 1600-meter relay. Nellum wrapped up the games by carrying the United States flag around the Olympic Stadium at the closing ceremony.
In its history, USC has produced more Olympians, Olympic medalists and Olympic gold medalists than any other university in the United States. Since 1904, there have been 418 athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance. The updated all-time medal count stands at 287 — 135 gold, 87 silver and 65 bronze medals.