UVA grad Matt McLean was one of three Wahoos to leave London with a gold medal for Team USA
The medals have been awarded. The drama has unfolded. The Spice Girls have reunited. Nothing else, then, is left for the 2012 London Olympics, and all eyes turn to Rio in preparation for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But first, let's look back at a successful Olympic games for some of UVA's finest and see how it compares to the rest of the conference and the NCAA.
UVA sent 13 athletes to London, and Cavaliers took home three medals, all gold. When put in perspective, it was an impressive haul for the Hoos, as just 20 nations in the world surpassed that number of wins. Canada, Kenya, Norway, Switzerland, Mexico, and Argentina are just a handful of the 178 participating nations who finished with fewer gold medals. Here's the full world medal count, which you could use as a handy reference when bragging to friends.
As a whole, the ACC combined to take home 13 gold medals, 7 of them golds. Our friends in Blacksburg didn't feel the need to contribute any athletes to team USA, and even UNC, who led the conference in Olympians (UVA was second), finished with just 2 medals, golds from the US women's soccer team. Here is the final medal table for the ACC, with the whole NCAA table below the jump.
Final ACC Medal Count - Team USA
And here are your 3 Wahoo Olympic Champions
- Lauren Perdue - USA - Gold - Swimming - 4x200m Freestyle Relay
- Matt McLean - USA - Gold - Swimming - 4x200m Freestyle Relay
- Becky Sauerbrunn - USA - Gold - Soccer - Women's Championship
Matt McLean got the Hoos started off right, swimming in the prelims of the men's 4x200 meter relay. Later that evening, a star-studded team that included Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte dominated the field, locking up a gold for Matt and the rest of team USA.
McLean, who graduated from Virginia in 2011 after taking home three ACC Swimmer of the Year Awards as a Hoo, wasn't too sentimental about his new hardware. When asked about what he'd do with the prized gold medal, he told NBC Washington, "Eh, I'll probably just leave it at my parents' place."
Lauren Perdue had a pretty similar experience, as she also participated in the prelims of the 4x200 on the women's side as part of a group that finished with a qualifying time of 1:58.07. Missy Franklin, Dana Vollmer, Shannon Vreeland and Allison Schmitt swam for the gold medal in this final.
Perdue caused a bit of a stir out of the pool as well. The easy-on-the-eyes rising fourth-year kicked off the games as a star in Team USA's viral cover of Call Me Maybe. After her gold medal win, LeBron James took a liking to Perdue, asking her to "dinner" in the "dining hall." Lauren, accustomed to the finer gentlemen of the University of Virginia, turned him down, citing her curfew, but did post a photo to her Instagram account. She will return to UVA for her fourth year this fall, where she has an ACC Swimmer of the Year award and two conference titles under her belt already.
Becky Sauerbrunn took home the last UVA gold medal as part of the exciting USA women's soccer team. The group pulled off a thrilling extra time win over Canada in the semi-finals before edging Japan 2-1 to bring home the title and avenge last summer's loss in the World Cup final.
Sauerbrunn typically entered games late as a substitute defender, where she did play a key role. Her stop of a dangerous Canadian run late in extra time translated to the clinching goal by Alex Morgan just seconds later. Star Abby Wombach said the she definitely had a part putting the final against Japan away as well. Sauerbrunn is an '07 UVA grad and current defender for DC United Women. As a fourth year, she was named an All-American as well as the ACC's Defensive Player of the Year.
Who else brought home medals for Team USA? Without further ado, here is the overall NCAA medal table for the 2012 Olympic Games!
Final NCAA Medal Count - Team USA
|21||Long Beach State||1||2||3|
|32||Roberts Wesleyan College||1||1|
|54||UC Santa Barbara||1||1|
|66||San Jose State||1||1|
|66||Colorado Colorado Springs||1||1|