Competition in the Tokyo Olympics begins in earnest Saturday with 15 of the record 66 current, former and future USC students in action, the most among any American university.
The Trojans set to compete Saturday include three-time Hungarian swimming gold medalist Katinka Hosszu; U.S. women’s beach volleyball player April Ross; U.S. men’s water polo players Marko Vavic and Hannes Daube; Australian men’s water polo players Joel Dennerley, Blake Edwards and his brother Lachlan Edwards; and American pistol shooter Sandra Uptagrafft, a Beverly Hills High School graduate.
Of the 66 USC 2020 Olympians, 18 will compete in swimming, 16 in water polo, 16 in track and field, four in beach volleyball, two each in basketball, golf, rowing and tennis and one each in baseball, skateboarding, shooting and volleyball.
The 66 competitors is more than 164 of the 205 National Olympic Committee delegations competing in Tokyo. This is the sixth consecutive Summer Games with at least 40 Trojan Olympians.
Coming into the 2020 Games, USC has sent more athletes to the Summer and Winter Olympics, and they have won more medals and gold medals, than any other U.S. university.
From the 1904 Summer Games through the 2018 Winter Olympics, there have been 472 athletes who attended USC before, during or after their Olympic appearance. They have won 305 medals (142 gold, 91 silver and 72 bronze), including at least one gold medal in every Summer Olympics since 1912.
If USC competed separately, its 305 medals would rank 13th most in the world, while its 142 gold medals would be tied for 11th most.
Leading candidates to keep USC’s gold-medal streak alive in 2021 include track sprinters Michael Norman of the U.S. and Canadian Andre De Grasse; hurdlers Rai Benjamin and Dalilah Muhammad, both from the U.S.; Hosszu and U.S. women’s water polo players Kaleigh Gilchrist, Paige Hauschild, Stephania Haralabidis and Amanda Longan.
Trojans will compete for the U.S. and 32 other national Olympic committees — Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, China, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Latvia, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Poland, Moldova, the Russian Olympic Committee, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia.
The 2020 Games will be the first time a Trojan has represented Croatia (swimmer Nikola Miljenic), Latvia (beach volleyball player Tina Graudina), and Tonga (swimmer Noelani Day). USC has had athletes represent 65 different national Olympic committees in past games.
There are 40 current, incoming or former UCLA students set to compete in the Olympics, including five softball and women’s water polo players and four competitors each in gymnastics, women’s soccer, track and field and men’s volleyball.
Bruins will compete for the U.S. and 16 other national Olympic committees — Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Great Britain, Grenada, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, the Russian Olympic Committee, Serbia, Singapore and Thailand.