Longhorns take home 10 gold medals in Rio

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Jones | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns earned a lot of hardware at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Current and former Texas athletes racked up 13 medals, with 10 gold, two bronze and one silver in 10 different events. The University would rank No. 7 in golds and No. 20 in total medals if its athletes were competing as their own country. 

Former Longhorn swimmer Jimmy Feigen jump-started the medal count while helping Team USA finish second in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay preliminary round on Aug. 7. Team USA, led by Michael Phelps, secured the gold medal in the final.

Two days later, three current Longhorns took home gold medals in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay. Sophomore Townley Haas teamed up with Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer to win the event’s final on Aug. 9. Seniors Jack Conger and Clark Smith competed in the event’s preliminary round.

But it was rising junior Joseph Schooling who made the most noise in swimming events. 

The 21-year-old shattered an Olympic record in the 100-meter butterfly as he won Singapore’s first Olympic gold on Aug. 12, clocking in at 50.39 seconds. The split was enough to leave Phelps, who set the previous record in Beijing in 2008, in a three-way tie for silver. 

“I’m just ecstatic,” Schooling said. “I don’t think it has set in yet, it’s just crazy. You know, breaking the Olympic record and it was a thrill to swim against Michael Phelps and all those guys.”

Texas also collected numerous golds in track and field. Recent graduates Courtney Okolo and Morolake Akinosun helped Team USA pick up victories in the 4x400-meter and 4x100-meter relays, respectively. Rising senior Chrisann Gordon won Texas’ lone silver medal, competing for Jamaica in the 4x400-meter relay qualifying heat.

Additionally, the Longhorns swept the shot put events, with former Longhorn Michelle Carter taking the women’s gold and recent graduate Ryan Crouser winning the men’s event. Carter set a new American women’s record with a 20.68-meter throw to become the first U.S. woman to win the event, while Crouser broke the men’s Olympic record with a 22.52-meter throw. 

“Getting ready for my last throw, I was just praying, ‘Lord, help me give my all,’” Carter said. “I just wanted to give it my all and leave nothing in the tank.”

Former Longhorns Ashley Spencer and Rachael Adams both earned bronze medals in their events, competing in the women’s 400-meter hurdles and women’s indoor volleyball, respectively.

Former Longhorn and new Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant picked up Texas’ final gold medal while leading Team USA basketball in scoring with 19.4 points per game. 

In all, Texas athletes reeled in gold on over 50 percent of their 25 opportunities to medal.

Current and former Longhorns have now produced a total of 144 medals — 83 gold — in the Olympics.