If Florida Were a Nation, It Would Have Ranked Fifth in the 2012 Olympics
Around the State
As the Olympic torch was extinguished Sunday night, one mighty corner of Florida -- the University of Florida -- was able to claim a tie for ninth place in the overall gold medal count at the 2012 London Olympics.
"I think we should rename London 'Son of Swamp,'" Janet Filer, a 1970 UF grad, boasted Sunday night. "We owned that town for two weeks."
Athletes who call the state of Florida home or have ties to the Sunshine State collectively hauled in 32 pieces of hardware, or fifth place, in the recently completed games, including 18 gold medals (won individually or shared).
Ryan Lochte, a Gator swimmer from Daytona Beach, picked up five medals on his own, which was more than 43 nations.
The United States leads the gold medal (46) and overall medal (104) counts.
But Florida as a state soared. If it were a nation, it would have ranked between Russia and Korea (the good one) on the gold medal scoreboard and 12th on the overall count, just behind the Ukraine and the Netherlands.
(Check out the list of Florida medal winners and a nations' comparison in the attachment below.)
Canada, with Gator Mel Booth collecting a bronze in women’s soccer, finished with 18 overall medals.
People who studied or are studying at the University of Florida helped land 19 medals.
Counting Booth’s and a silver by Novlene Williams-Mills, running for Jamaica, the University of Florida can claim seven golds, six silvers and six bronze medals.
(For our completely selfish purposes, we count swimmer Dana Vollmer and her three golds, even though she did transfer after first competing for the school.)
The University of Miami was able to claim a medal as Lauryn Williams received a long-awaited gold in helping the women win gold in the 400-meter relay.
Williams, who ran in the heat that put the U.S.A. into the final, had been involved in the prior two Olympic games that ended in disqualifications over botched hand-offs.
Florida State University, Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University and Lynn University also had athletes compete in the games.
Overall, 85 nations medaled in the games.
The Sunshine State could count 24 athletes, including seven that were multiple winners who got to stand on a podium during the games, for sports ranging from swimming, track and field, tennis, basketball and soccer to archery, taekwondo, volleyball and gymnastics.
Three of the golds were shared: Lochte and Conor Dwyer in swimming; Abby Wambach and Heather Mitts in women’s soccer; and Venus and Serena Williams in doubles tennis.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (772) 215-9889.