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STANFORD, Calif. - With the gold and silver-medal winning efforts of six Cardinal athletes in men's water polo and men's volleyball, Stanford athletes have now combined to win a school-record 25 medals in Beijing (eight gold, 12 silver and four bronze). This phenomenal medal haul, won by 24 current and former Stanford athletes, is three better than the previous record of 21 medals accumulated by Stanford affiliates at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France.
As the Beijing Games reached its penultimate day of competition, six Stanford athletes helped a pair of U.S. Teams reach heights unattained in 20 years. In the pool, the quartet of Tony Azevedo '05, Layne Beaubin, Peter Varellas '06 and Peter Hudnut '03 led an incredible run by the unheralded United States men's water polo team to a silver medal - its highest Olympic finish since 1988. On the volleyball court, Stanford grads Kevin Hansen '04 and Gabe Gardner '00 were part of a United States men's squad that culminated an emotional Olympics by bringing home gold for the first time since 1988.
All told, 23 current and former Stanford athletes have combined to win 24 medals - equalling the school record
Snapshots of Stanford athletes' performances...
In Men's Water Polo action...
The amazing run of the United States came to an end early Sunday morning, as the U.S. fell, 14-10, to Hungary in the gold-medal game. Tony Azevedo `05 scored four goals to lead the American side, assisted on two others, made a steal and had a pair of field blocks to register another great all-around performance. Layne Beaubien scored twice, while Peter Varellas `06 added a score.
For Azevedo, Beaubien, Varellas, and Peter Hudnut `03, the silver medal marks the best Olympic finish for the United States since 1988. Ranked ninth in the world heading into the tournament, the U.S., behind the sharp play of the Stanford quartet, pulled off upsets of some of the world's top teams, including Italy, Serbia, and world No. 1 Croatia.
In Men's Volleyball action...
Stanford graduates Kevin Hansen '04 and Gabe Gardner '00 captured gold medals when their United States team beat tournament favorite Brazil, 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23) in the championship final Sunday.
Hansen, a setter, and Gardner, an opposite hitter, did not play in the gold-medal match, but provided important depth for the veteran squad, which won its first Olympic title since 1988.
The U.S. provided a hint of what was to come when it won the World League title in July. The U.S. entered the tournament ranked No. 3 in the world, with defending champion Brazil keeping a firm grip on No. 1.
But the U.S. suffered a blow on the morning after the opening ceremonies when Todd Bachman, the father-in-law of head coach Hugh McCutcheon, was fatally stabbed at a Beijing tourist site.
McCutcheon missed the first three matches to be with his family, but the U.S. did not falter, going a perfect 5-0 in pool play and continuing its domination throughout the knockout stages of the tournament.
This U.S. team holds a resemblance to the '88 winners in one respect - both had two former Stanford players on its roster. Scott Fortune '88 and Jon Root '86 won in Seoul.
In the Men's Marathon...
Ryan Hall battled the warm temperatures to finish 10th in the men's marathon. Hall, who finished with a time of 2:12.33, could not hang with the scorching pace set by eventual winner, Samuel Kamau Wansiru of Kenya, who ran 2:06.32. Hall and fellow American, Dathan Ritzenheim, who finfished ninth, became the first American duo since 1976 to place in the top ten. In '76 it was Frank Shorter and Stanford grad Don Kardong who finished second and fourth..
In Men's Basketball action...
Johnny Dawkins and the rest of Team USA captured Olympic gold for the first time since 2000 in Sydney, as the Americans defeated Spain 118-107 in Sunday's championship contest. Team USA was dominant throughout the Games, posting an 8-0 mark and winning by an average of 27.9 points per game.
Dawkins was serving in his final season as Player Personnel Director for the USA Basketball Senior National Team.