Aug. 14, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - The third-largest Olympic contingent in Stanford history finished competition at the 2012 London Games Sunday. The 41 athletes over 15 sports with Cardinal ties bring home 16 medals, 12 of them gold, the fourth-best gold medal haul for Stanford representatives at any Olympics.
The 12 gold medals won in London rank behind only the 1996 Atlanta Games (17 golds) and both the 1920 Amsterdam and 1924 Paris Games at which Cardinal athletes won 13 gold medals.
Stanford's gold medals in London were won in such sports as beach volleyball, women's rowing, women's soccer, tennis and women's water polo. Stanford boasted five athletes on the gold medal-winning U.S. women's water polo team, including four-time Olympian Brenda Villa '03, who finally earned that elusive Olympic Gold. Jessica Steffens '10 won gold to go with her silver from the 2008 Beijing Games, while Olympic debutantes Annika Dries, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens struck gold in their first Olympics.
Three Stanford standouts, Nicole Barnhart '04, Rachel Buehler '07 and Kelley O'Hara '10 won gold with the U.S. women's soccer team. For Barnhart and Buehler it was a repeat gold to go with the one they earned at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Beach volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings '00 and partner Misty May-Treanor won their third straight Olympic Gold Medal, while also earning a repeat gold with the U.S. women's eight was rower Elle Logan '11.
Joining the first-time Stanford gold medalists in London were the Bryan Brothers, Bob and Mike '98, who captured tennis gold in the men's doubles draw at Wimbledon.
Mike Bryan also earned a bronze medal in mixed doubles with partner Lisa Raymond, while Kristian Ipsen '15 and partner Troy Dumais earned bronze in the men's 3-meter springboard synchronized diving competition.
In Beach Volleyball action...
Kerri Walsh '00 and U.S. partner Misty May-Treanor made another dominating run through the women's beach tournament to become the first beach team, men or women, to win three consecutive gold medals. The pair, seeded third, was 7-0, dropping just one set in the process in London. In an all-USA final, Walsh and May-Treanor defeated their American counterparts Jennifer Kessy and April Ross, 21-16-21-16, to claim the gold. Walsh and May-Treanor are now 21-0 in Olympic matches going back to the 2004 Games in Athens and 42-1 in Olympic sets all-time.
In Diving action...
Kristian Ipsen '15 earned the first medal of the 2012 Olympics for a Stanford athlete, capturing bronze with partner Troy Dumais in the men's 3-meter springboard synchronized diving event.
Ipsen and Dumais were in third place at the halfway point of the six-round competition on Aug. 1, clinging to a lead of just 0.27 of a point over the Ukrainian duo of Illya Kavasha and Oleksiy Prygorov. The Americans surged into second place after the fourth round, and held a slim lead over Russia for silver going into the final dive of the competition.
The Russian duo of Ilya Zakharov and Evgeny Kuznetsov, though, earned a sixth-round score of 100.32 to pass Ipsen and Dumais for silver, but the Americans still earned bronze by a comfortable margin.
On the women's side, Cassidy Krug '07 finished seventh overall with a total score of 342.85. Krug finished 10th in the preliminary round to qualify for the semifinals, where her fifth-place score of 345.60 was good enough to send her into the final 12.
Heading into the fifth and final dive of the finals, Krug was in fourth place, just 3.65 points behind Mexico's Laura Sanchez Soto for bronze position. But Krug's final dive, a forward two-and-a-half somersault with a twist, earned a score of just 55.50, knocking her down to seventh place.
In Equestrian action...
Incoming freshman Nina Ligon '16 competed for Thailand in the individual eventing portion of equestrian. Ligon went on to finish 41st overall in the four-day eventing competition.
In Fencing action...
Another incoming freshman, Alexander Massialas '16, competed at the Games, representing the United States in the individual foil and team foil competitions.
Massialas made his Olympic debut with the individual foil competition, earning a bye to the Round of 32 where he defeated Canada's Etienne LaLonde Turbide, 15-6. His run would end in the next round, however, with a 15-6 loss to Russia's Alexey Cheremisinov.
In the team foil competition, Massialas and the U.S. team earned a bye into the quarterfinals, defeating France 45-39. Massialas scored 7 points for the U.S. in the match, earning the winning touch against France's Erwan Le Pechoux.
Now in the medal round, the U.S. hopes for gold ended with a 45-24 loss to Italy. Taking on Germany for the bronze medal, Massialas and the U.S. would fall again, this time by a 45-27 decision.
In Women's Gymnastics action...
Kristina Vaculik '16 helped Canada's women's gymnastics team to a fifth-place finish in the team competition. Vaculik performed in all four disciplines during the qualification phase, topping off with a 14.366 in uneven bars that was second-best on the Canadian team.
In the team finals, Vaculik performed on uneven bars and balance beam, scoring 14.166 and 13.433, respectively, as Canada finished fifth with a score of 170.804.
In Rowing action...
Stanford sent five rowers (four men, one woman) to London and it was Elle Logan '11 who came back with a second Olympic Gold Medal as the U.S. women's eight successfully defended its 2008 Gold.
At the peak of its international powers, the U.S. women's eight cruised to a six-second win in its opening heat on July 29, grabbing the automatic finals berth and a break until the final four days later on Aug. 2.
In the final, the U.S. went wire-to-wire, checking the challenges of the Canadian eight behind it and crossing the line in a gold medal-winning time of 6:10.59, 1.47 seconds ahead of Canada.
For Logan the second Olympic Gold Medal makes her one of Stanford's most decorated rowers. Along with her Olympic Golds (women's eight, 2008, 2012) she has earned one silver (women's four, 2009) and two gold medals (women's eight, 2010-11) at the World Rowing Championships as well as an NCAA team national title (2009) and NCAA I Eight gold (2009) and bronze (2011) medals.
On the men's side, the Cardinal was represented by the quartet of David Banks '05 and Jake Cornelius '05 in the eight, Alex Osborne '09 in the quadruple sculls and Silas Stafford '08 in the pair.
Banks, making his second straight Olympic appearance, and Cornelius helped the U.S. eight charge out of the gates and to a preliminary heat win on July 28. The U.S. led from the start and crossed the line in 5:30.72 to claim an automatic finals berth and avoid the repechage.
In the final, the U.S. fell into the back half of the pack for the first half of the race. Yet the Americans made a push over the final 1,000 meters in an attempt to chase down the fading boat from Great Britain for bronze, however it would fall just short as the U.S. time of 5:51.48 would fall just three-tenths of a second short of the British and the bronze medal.
Osborne and the U.S. quad sculls boat opened up with a fourth-place finish in its heat, relegating the boat to the repechage. There, needing to finish in the top three of the four-boat race, the U.S. was off to a strong start before an oar stuck in the water at the 350-meter mark, bringing the Americans to a stop.
At the back of the pack, the U.S. rowed desperately to catch up, hitting 41 strokes per minute, but it would not be enough as the boat finished fourth, 0.72 of a second behind third-place Switzerland and out of the competition.
Stafford and partner Tom Peszek also finished fourth in the men's pair preliminary heat, sending them to the repechage. In the second-chance race, Stafford and Peszek held off the Hungarian pair of Domonkos Szell and Simon Bela by 0.47 of a second to claim the third and final semifinal spot.
Racing for the third time in five days in the semifinal, the American pair would go for broke, battling its way through the middle of the pack but ultimately finishing fourth in 6:58.58, one spot out of the Gold Medal Final. They would compete in the B Final two days later, taking second behind Germany for an overall eighth-place Olympic finish.
In Men's Soccer action...
Ryan Nelsen '01 captained the New Zealand squad as one of its three "overage" players in London. Since the Olympic tournament features Under-23 teams, each participating nation is allowed to add three overage players on the squad.
Competing in Group C, New Zealand went 0-2-1, earning one point and failing to qualify for the knockout rounds. The All Whites opened their tournament with a 1-0 loss to Belarus before drawing 1-1 with Egypt. Needing a victory over Brazil to advance out of group play, New Zealand fell 3-0 to eventual the eventual silver medalists.
Nelsen played in all three matches for the All Whites on defense.
In Women's Soccer action...
The U.S., featuring returning Olympians Nicole Barnhart '04 and Rachel Buehler '07 along with newcomer Kelley O'Hara '10, captured its third straight Olympic Gold Medal with a 2-1 win over Japan in the final.
The U.S. rolled through Group G with maximum points from wins over France (4-2), Colombia (3-0) and North Korea (1-0). A 2-0 quarterfinal win over New Zealand setup a dramatic semifinal opposite Canada in which the U.S. came back to equalize three times before claiming the win on Alex Morgan's header with about 15 seconds remaining in the second extra-time session.
In the Gold Medal Final against Japan, the U.S. would go up 2-0 in the second half before Japan halved the deficit in the 63rd minute. But the U.S. defense, bolstered in part by the play of Buehler and O'Hara, each of whom started all six matches, held on over the final 27 minutes of regulation and three minutes of injury time to seal the win.
O'Hara, in addition to starting all six matches, played all 570 minutes for the United States. Buehler started all six contests and with O'Hara contributed strong defense as the U.S. posted three shutouts. Barnhart, backing up U.S. goalie Hope Solo in goal, did not see action in the tournament.
Ali Riley '10, competing in her second Olympics for New Zealand, helped pace a historic performance for the Football Ferns which featured their first win in Olympic or World Cup competition and first trip to the knockout rounds.
After dropping 1-0 decisions to Great Britain and Brazil in Group E play, the Football Ferns were faced with a must-win finale against Cameroon in order to advance to the quarterfinals, as the top two third place teams would join the top two teams from each of the three groups in the knockout rounds.
Against Cameroon, Riley and the Football Ferns broke through at the 43-minute mark and eventually took a 3-0 lead by the 62nd minute. New Zealand would cruise to the 3-1 win to advance to the quarterfinals where the Football Ferns would fall 2-0 to the United States in a match featuring all four of Stanford's women's soccer Olympians.
Over the tournament, Riley anchored the New Zealand back line, starting all four contests and playing all 360 minutes for the Football Ferns.
In Men's Swimming action...
Four of Stanford's international alumni competed at the London Games, as brothers David '10 and Jason Dunford '09 represented Kenya for the second straight Olympics, Tobias Oriwol '06 swam for Canada for the second straight Games and Markus Rogan '04 represented Austria for the third time.
Rogan, who served as Austria's flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony, competed in the 4x200 free relay as the 200 IM. Austria finished eighth in the second heat of the relay and failed to reach the final. In the 200 IM, Rogan finished third in his preliminary heat with a time of 1:58.66 to qualify for the semifinals. There, competing in the first semifinal, Rogan was disqualified at the 100-meter mark for using an illegal dolphin kick after pushing off the wall.
Oriwol was a member of Canada's 4x200 free relay team, but the quartet failed to make the final following a seventh-place finish in its heat. Individually, Oriwol competed in the 200-meter backstroke, where he advanced to the semifinals with a preliminary time of 1:58.06. Oriwol would finish seventh in the second semifinal with a time of 1:58.74, which did not qualify for the final.
David Dunford competed in the 50- and 100-meter freestyles in London. Opening up in the 100, Dunford finished third in the fifth heat with a time of 49.60 but it would not make the top 16 and did not qualify for the final. In the 50 free, Dunford clocked a 22.72 in the fifth heat but failed to make top 16 to qualify for the semifinals.
Jason Dunford reached the semifinals of the 100-meter butterfly following a swim of 52.23 in the preliminary heats. In the second semifinal, Dunford finished eighth in 52.16 and did not qualify for the final.
In Synchronized Swimming action...
Stanford's Maria Koroleva '13 teamed up with Mary Killman to form the U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming duet team in London. The pair finished 11th overall in the competition. The U.S. duet finished with 175.670 points after posting an 87.770 score in the free routine final. They had 87.900 points in the technical routine.
In Tennis action...
Brothers Mike and Bob Bryan '98, the top-ranked doubles team in the world, captured their first Olympic Gold Medal at the All-England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club in Wimbledon with a 6-4, 7-6 (2) victory over France's Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.
Each brother would also compete in the mixed doubles draw, as Mike and partner Lisa Raymond captured the bronze medal with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-4 victory over Germany's Christopher Kas and Sabine Lisicki. Bob and partner Lisa Huber fell in the first round to Kas and Lisicki.
Teamed together, the brothers captured their 79th doubles crown with the Olympic Gold, upgrading from the bronze they won in Beijing four years ago. The win also completed the "Golden Slam" for the brothers, as they have now won all four major doubles titles plus Olympic Gold in their career as a team.
The Bryans went through a grueling run to their first Olympic Gold, going to the tiebreaker in seven of the 11 sets they played at Wimbledon. At one point, the brothers won four straight sets (over 2-0 sweeps in the second round and quarterfinal) by scores of 7-6. Despite the challenges, the Bryans still only dropped one set throughout their Golden run, that coming by a 6-7 score in the second set of a three-set victory over Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci and Andre Sa.
In Track & Field action...
Stanford Track & Field sent six alumni to London to compete in a variety of events. Ryan Hall '05 (marathon) and Jillian Camarena-Williams '04 (shotput) represented the United States while Stanford's four international Olympians were Aranxta King '12 (long jump) representing Bermuda for the second straight Olympics, 2012 NCAA hurdles champion Amaechi Morton (400 hurdles) and Idara Otu '09 (4x400 relay) representing Nigeria and 2012 NCAA pole vault champion Katerina Stefanidi representing Greece.
Hall entered the Games as a medal contender in the marathon, but was forced to withdraw from the race at the 10-mile mark due to a strained right hamstring.
Camarena-Williams finished the qualification round of the shotput with a top mark of 18.22 meters but it ranked 15th, three spots outside of qualifying for the finals.
King leaped 6.40 meters in the qualifying round of the long jump, placing her sixth in Group B. King ended up tied for 12th overall and with just 12 advancing to the final, entered a tiebreaking situation with Veronika Shutkova of Belarus. Unfortunately for King, Shutkova had the better second-furthest jump and earned the final spot in the final, ending King's medal hopes.
Morton, competing in the 400-meter hurdles, qualified though to the semifinals with a time of 49.34 in heat 1, finishing third and advancing automatically. The next day, running in lane nine in the third semifinal, Morton got out well and appeared in contention, but pulled up with an apparent injury, ending his Olympic run.
Otu ran in the first heat, running the second leg of the 4x400-meter relay. She helped Nigeria to a time of 3:26.29, which was fourth in the heat and qualified the African nation for the final. However, Otu was not selected to run in the final the next day. The Nigerian relay team would go on to be disqualified in the final.
Stefanidi was able to clear a top height of 4.25 meters during qualifying in the pole vault competition but that left her 24th overall and on the wrong side of the cut for the finals.
In Women's Volleyball action...
The top-ranked U.S. volleyball team, featuring Stanford alums Foluke Akinradewo '09 and Logan Tom '03, fell one victory shy of winning its first-ever Olympic Games gold medal for the second quadrennial in a row. The U.S. suffered an 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 loss to No. 2 Brazil in the finals. The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and captured its second straight silver medal. Akinradewo tallied 95 points during the tournament, including 67 kills and 25 blocks. Tom finished with 75 points with 61 kills, 10 blocks and four aces.
In Men's Water Polo action...
The U.S. men's water polo team, featuring the Cardinal quartet of captain Tony Azevedo '05, Layne Beaubien '99, Peter Hudnut '03 and Peter Varellas '06, took eighth at the Olympic tournament.
After going atop Group B with wins over Montenegro, Romania and Great Britain, things quickly turned on the U.S. beginning with five-goal losses to Serbia and Hungary to close pool play.
The losses dropped the U.S. down to the fourth and final quarterfinal seed from Group B, leading to a quarterfinal matchup with Group A winner Croatia. The Croatians rolled past the U.S., 8-2, and would go on to win the gold medal. The U.S., relegated to the 5-8 placement bracket, dropped a pair of one-goal decisions to Spain and Australia to finish eighth.
All four Cardinal alumni saw action in every game for the U.S. Azevedo, making his fourth Olympic appearance, and two-time Olympian Varellas tied for second on the team with 11 goals over the eight contests. Varellas was also second on the squad with a shooting percentage of 44.0 percent, scoring his 11 goals on 24 shots.
Three-time Olympian Beaubien scored four goals while Hudnut, in his second Games, netted a goal. Overall, the 27 combined goals from Stanford's quartet accounted for 44.2 percent of the U.S. offense, which scored 61 total in London.
In Women's Water Polo action...
Three previous Olympic heartbreaks were washed away in London for the U.S. women as they earned the Olympic Gold Medal which had eluded them for so long.
U.S. captain Brenda Villa '03, one of just two Americans to have played in all four Olympic women's water polo tournaments since the inaugural event in 2000, added gold to her collection of two silver and one bronze. Two-time Olympian Jessica Steffens '10 earned gold to go along with her silver from the 2008 Beijing Games and Olympic debutantes Annika Dries '14, Melissa Seidemann '13 and Maggie Steffens '16 struck gold at their first Games.
The gold medal run featured some very close games for the U.S. The Americans opened with a 14-13 win over Hungary, followed by a 9-9 draw with Spain and an 8-7 win over China to finish Group A play 2-0-1. Although the record matched Spain's, the U.S. was saddled with Group A's second seed as Spain boasted a stronger goal differential.
The U.S. opened the knockout rounds with a 9-6 win over Italy to set up a semifinal date with Australia. In that contest, Australia netted the equalizer with one second remaining to send the contest into overtime, bring the U.S. face-to-face with another potential Olympic heartbreaker.
The U.S., however, would not give in this time, as Maggie Steffens scored one of the two American goals in overtime as the U.S. advanced with the 11-9 win.
Steffens would again shine in the Gold Medal Final, scoring five goals as the U.S. used a 7-0 run midway through the contest to take control and cruise to the 8-5 win.
Together the Stanford quintet accounted for 37 of the 58 U.S. goals in London, a 58.6 percentage. The group was led by Maggie Steffens, who scored a tournament-high 21 goals including an Olympic-record seven in the team's opening win over Hungary. Even more impressive, Steffens scored her 21 goals on 27 shots, a shooting percentage of 77.8.
Steffens would go on to be named to the Olympic All-Star team for her performance.
Seidemann tied for second on the U.S. with seven goals, Villa netted six, Dries a pair and Jessica Steffens one.
In Wrestling action...
Matt Gentry '05, competing in men's freestyle wrestling at 74 kg for Canada, claimed his first Olympic win, 3-0, 1-1, in a victory over India's Narsingh Yadav. The win moved him right into the quarterfinals, where he fell to eventual gold-medal winner Jordan Burroughs of the United States, 2-1, 1-1.
Due to Burroughs winning his semifinal and advancing to the Gold Medal Final, Gentry advanced to the bronze-medal repechage, needing two wins to earn one of the two bronze medals. He convincingly defeated Puerto Rico's Francisco Tanco Soler, 4-0, 5-0 to move on to the bronze medal match against Russia's Denis Tsarbush.
Gentry would end his Olympic run with a 0-1, 0-2 decision to Tsarbush to finish tied for fifth out of 19 wrestlers in the 74 kg class.