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Olympic update: Stanford athletes bring home 12 gold medals

Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (above)

Over the 17 days of competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, current Stanford athletes and alumni took 16 medals—equivalent to 17th in the world amongst participating country. The Cardinal won 12 gold, two silver and two bronze medals at the London Games, with gold medals earned in the sports of beach volleyball, women’s rowing, women’s soccer, men’s tennis and women’s water polo. Stanford finished third in the collegiate Olympic medal count behind USC and Cal, and tied USC for earning the most gold medals. Here are some Cardinal highlights of the last week of Olympic competition:

Women’s volleyball:

Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo '09 (above) and the US women's volleyball team took silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Akinradewo recorded eight kills and three blocks in the gold medal match, but she and her American teammates fell to Brazil in four sets. (KYLE TERADA/Stanfordphoto.com)

The No. 1-ranked U.S. team, including Foluke Akinradewo ’09 and Logan Tom ’03, advanced to the gold-medal match for the second straight Olympics with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 victory over No. 15 Korea at on Aug. 9.

Akinradewo scored 12 points on eight kills via 10 attacks and two aces. Tom provided six kills, a block and an ace for a total of eight points.

Team USA fell 11-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 to No. 2 Brazil on Aug. 11 and took the silver medal. Tom registered 11 kills and three blocks for 14 points, while Akinradewo chipped in with eight kills and three blocks for 11 points.

Women’s soccer:

Rachel Buehler ’07, Kelley O’Hara ’10 and Nicole Barnhart ’04 helped Team USA win its third consecutive gold in the Olympics on Aug. 9. With Buehler at central defense, O’Hara at left back and Barnhart as the backup goalkeeper, the Americans redeemed themselves in the final at Wembley Stadium with a 2-1 victory over Japan, which beat Team USA in the 2011 World Cup final. The United States gained a 2-0 lead in the 54th minute but needed goalkeeper Hope Solo’s diving save in the final minutes to stave off Japan’s comeback.

Track and field:

Idara Otu ’09 ran the second leg of the 4×400-meter relay qualifier on Aug. 10 to help Nigeria take fourth in the first heat and eighth overall to make the final with a time of 3:26.29. She did not compete in the Aug. 11 final, during which Nigeria crossed the finish line seventh but was disqualified.

Ryan Hall ’05 ran in his second Olympic marathon on Aug. 12 but pulled out at the 11-mile mark due to a right hamstring strain. This marks the first time in his career that he has not finished a race.

Men’s water polo:

Despite winning their first three games of pool play and sitting atop Group B, the Americans dropped their final five games of the tournament to finish eighth.

Team USA lost its fourth straight game to Spain 8-7 on Aug. 10. Layne Beaubien ’99 scored twice and Tony Azevedo ’04 scored once, while Peter Varellas ’06 and Peter Hudnut ’03 assisted in the defensive effort.

The U.S. ended its Olympics on Aug. 12 with a 10-9 loss to Australia in the seventh-place game. Azevedo and Varellas each scored twice, while Beaubien and Hudnut helped defend the net.

Women’s water polo:

Team USA took its first Olympic gold in women’s water polo on Aug. 9. Team captain Brenda Villa ’03, Jessica Steffens ’10, Annika Dries ’14, Melissa Seidemann ’13 and Maggie Steffens ’16 helped the U.S. defeat Spain 8-5 in the gold-medal final.

Steffens netted five goals, while Seidemann and Villa also added goals to help the U.S. take the lead after falling into an early 2-1 deficit.

Steffens was the top-scoring women’s player in London, with 21 goals over the 5-0-1 U.S. run. The five Cardinal players netted 34 out of the 58 total U.S. goals.

Wrestling:

Matt Gentry ’05 of Canada, competing in the men’s freestyle wrestling 74-kg competition, began his Olympic run on Aug. 10. He won 3-0, 1-1 over India’s Narsingh Yadav but lost 0-2, 1-1 to eventual gold medalist Jordan Burroughs, his American teammate. Needing two wins to take bronze, Gentry defeated Francisco Soler Tanco of Puerto Rico, 4-0, 5-0 but lost 0-1, 0-2 to Russia’s Denis Tsargush. He concluded his Olympic run tied for fifth.

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