Aug. 13, 2012
The Big Ten Conference brought home a total of 35 medals, which includes 15 gold, nine silver and 11 bronze, at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Over 100 former and current Big Ten student-athletes and coaches participated in this year’s games, representing 32 countries in 24 different sports.
Michigan boasted the most medals with 12 and also the most golds with eight. Former volunteer assistant coach Michael Phelps claimed four of those gold medals, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 overall medals, including 18 gold. His first-place performances in London included the 100-meter butterfly, 200 individual medley, 4x100 medley relay and 4x200 freestyle relay.
Former Wolverines, Charlie Houchin and Davis Tarwater, swam on the preliminary 4x200 freestyle relay team to join Phelps in winning gold, while Tyler Clary set an Olympic record with his gold-medal performance in the 200 backstroke, and Peter Vanderkaay took home a bronze in the 400 freestyle. Former Michigan student-athlete Betsy Armstrong commanded the USA women’s water polo team to its first gold medal, and former Michigan rower Janine Hanson claimed silver in the women’s eight event.
Penn State racked up five overall medals, bringing home two silver and three bronze. Former Nittany Lion volleyball standouts Christa Harmotto and Megan Hodge helped Team USA to a silver-medal performance, while Karina Leblanc and Erin McLeod contributed to Team Canada’s bronze medal in women’s soccer, and Natalie Dell stroked Team USA’s women’s rowing quadruple skulls boat to bronze.
Minnesota tallied four medals in London, with two gold and two silver. Barbara Špotáková placed first in the javelin throw for the Czech Republic, and Lindsay Whalen stood atop the podium for the USA women’s basketball squad. Lindsey Berg helped the USA women’s volleyball team to silver, while Kelci Bryant finished second in the synchronized three-meter springboard.
Nebraska also won four medals at the London Games, led by USA freestyle wrestler Jordan Burroughs, who claimed gold at 74kgs. Jordan Larson helped USA volleyball to its silver-medal performance, while Karina Leblanc and Brittany Timko were a part of the bronze-medal Canadian women’s soccer team.
Northwestern tallied three medals from four-time NCAA champion Matt Grevers. The former Wildcat claimed gold and an Olympic record in the 100 backstroke, and swam on Team USA’s 4x100 medley relay gold-medal squad. Grevers also posted a silver medal in the 4x100 freestyle relay.
Purdue also claimed three medals at the London Games, including two from 2011 Jesse Owens Male Big Ten Athlete of the Year David Boudia. The former Boilermaker became the first American man to win the 10-meter platform event since Greg Louganis in 1988. Boudia also registered a bronze medal performance in the synchronized 10-meter springboard, while Lauren Sesselman contributed to Canada’s third-place performance in women’s soccer.
Illinois and Indiana each collected two medals at the 2012 Games. Former Illinois men’s basketball standout Deron Williams won his second consecutive gold medal with Team USA, while Emily Zurrer claimed bronze with the Canadian women’s soccer team. Indiana’s Derek Drouin and Margaux Farrell each posted bronze-medal performances in London. Drouin leaped to third place for Team Canada in the men’s high jump, while Farrell swam on France’s preliminary 4x200 freestyle relay team.
Big Ten student-athletes and coaches have been a part of the Olympic experience on more than 1,370 occasions, including many making multiple trips to the international event. That list of conference standouts has accumulated at least 460 medals, including 243 gold.
The complete list of the 2012 Big Ten Olympians and an all-time Big Ten Olympic list (through the 2012 Summer Games) can be found above.