Olympian Bracket

The ultimate Olympic NCAA Tournament bracket

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Here’s a little bit of Olympian March Madness for you.

All 68 NCAA Tournament schools can say they’ve had an Olympian student. Some, such as Stanford and Florida, have had much more than others, such as Stephen F. Austin and Delaware.

Here’s how the bracket would look if each school was represented by its best Olympian:

(Click to enlarge image)

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Preference was given to individual sports athletes in most cases to keep from the bracket being dominated by basketball and baseball players.

Tiring research led to find at least two schools with one Olympian — Stephen F. Austin had Kylie Louw, a 2012 South African soccer player, and Delaware had Kimmie Meissner, a 2006 U.S. figure skater. It’s very possible that, in the 118 years of modern Games, other Olympians attended those institutions that we simply missed.

Creighton’s Olympian, Scott Servais, was a baseball player at Seoul 1988 when it was a demonstration sport.

There’s also the debate over Michael Phelps, who attended classes but did not pursue a degree from Michigan while his coach, Bob Bowman, worked there. He also never competed for the school, having already turned pro. Other athletes were chosen with similar circumstances.

Here were some of the tough choices:

Florida — Ryan Lochte over fellow swimmer Dara Torres.
Arizona — Amanda Beard over fellow swimmer Amy Van Dyken.
Duke — Nancy Hogshead over Japanese equestrian rider Hiroshi Hoketsu, 72, who competed in the 1964, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.
Michigan State — Ryan Miller over Magic Johnson.
Cincinnati — Oscar Robertson over 2008 Olympic 110m hurdles silver medalist David Payne.
North Carolina — Michael Jordan over soccer star Mia Hamm and hurdler Allen Johnson.
Oregon — Ashton Eaton over immensely popular 1970s distance runner Steve Prefontaine, who finished fourth in his only Olympic race.
Nebraska — Rulon Gardner over fellow wrestler Jordan Burroughs.
Eric Heiden — He went to Wisconsin and Stanford, but was slotted as a Badger to keep two-time Olympic decathlon champion Bob Mathias in for the Cardinal.

Here’s the complete list of Olympians, region by region:

SOUTH
1. Florida — Ryan Lochte, Swimming
2. Kansas — Al Oerter, Track and Field
3. Syracuse — Meyer Prinstein, Track and Field
4. UCLA — Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Track and Field
5. Virginia Commonwealth — Yann Bonato, Basketball
6. Ohio State — Jesse Owens, Track and Field
7. New Mexico — Luc Longley, Basketball
8. Colorado — Bill Toomey, Track and Field
9. Pittsburgh — Roger Kingdom, Track and Field
10. Stanford — Bob Mathias, Track and Field
11. Dayton — Mike Sylvester, Basketball
12. Stephen F. Austin — Kylie Louw, Soccer
13. Tulsa — Todd Hays, Bobsled
14. Western Michigan — Bill Porter, Track and Field
15. Eastern Kentucky — Jackie Humphrey, Track and Field
16. Albany — Shawn Sheldon, Wrestling
16. Mount Saint Mary’s — Peter Rono, Track and Field

WEST
1. Arizona — Amanda Beard, Swimming
2. Wisconsin — Eric Heiden, Speed Skating
3. Creighton — Scott Servais, Baseball
4. San Diego State — Chris Marlowe, Volleyball
5. Oklahoma — Bart Conner, Gymnastics
6. Baylor — Michael Johnson, Track and Field
7. Oregon — Ashton Eaton, Track and Field
8. Gonzaga — John Stockton, Basketball
9. Oklahoma State — John Smith, Wrestling
10. Brigham Young — Frankie Fredericks, Track and Field
11. Nebraska — Rulon Gardner, Wrestling
12. North Dakota State — Amanda Smock, Track and Field
13. New Mexico State — Chito Reyes, Basketball
14. Louisiana-Lafayette — Hollis Conway, Track and Field
15. American — Sergio Lopez Miro, Swimming
16. Weber State — Bill Schuffenhauer, Bobsled

EAST
1. Virginia — Dawn Staley, Basketball
2. Villanova — Don Bragg, Track and Field
3. Iowa State — Dan Gable, Wrestling
4. Michigan State — Ryan Miller, Hockey
5. Cincinnati — Oscar Robertson, Basketball
6. North Carolina — Michael Jordan, Basketball
7. Connecticut — Diana Taurasi, Basketball
8. Memphis — Penny Hardaway, Basketball
9. George Washington — Elana Meyers, Bobsled
10. St. Joseph’s — Mike Teti, Rowing
11. Providence — Cammi Granato, Hockey
12. Harvard — Dick Button, Figure Skating
13. Delaware — Kimmie Meissner, Figure Skating
14. North Carolina Central — Lee Calhoun, Track and Field
15. Wisconsin-Milwaukee — Mitchell Whitmore, Speed Skating
16. Coastal Carolina — Amber Campbell, Track and Field

MIDWEST
1. Wichita State — Braden Looper, Baseball
2. Michigan — Michael Phelps, Swimming
3. Duke — Nancy Hogshead, Swimming
4. Louisville — Angel McCoughtry, Basketball
5. St. Louis — Dick Boushka, Basketball
6. Massachusetts — Briana Scurry, Soccer
7. Texas — Mary Lou Retton, Texas
8. Kentucky — Alex Groza, Basketball
9. Kansas State — Thane Baker, Track and Field
10. Arizona State — Amanda Borden, Gymnastics
11. Iowa — Tom Brands, Wrestling
11. Tennessee — Justin Gatlin, Track and Field
12. North Carolina State — Joan Benoit, Track and Field
12. Xavier — Jason Parker, Shooting
13. Manhattan — Lindy Remigino, Track and Field
14. Mercer — Cindy Brogdon, Basketball
15. Wofford — Mike Lenzly, Basketball
16. Cal Poly — Stephanie Brown Trafton, Track and Field
16. Texas Southern — Jim Hines, Track and Field

Socal media statistics from Sochi 2014

Alex Zanardi, auto racer turned Paralympic champion, has 5-hour surgery to rebuild face after crash

Alex Zanardi
AP
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SIENA, Italy (AP) — Italian auto racing champion-turned-Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi underwent a five-hour surgery Monday to reconstruct his face following a crash on his handbike last month.

It was the third major operation that Zanardi has had since he crashed into an oncoming truck near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19 during a relay event.

Dr. Paolo Gennaro of Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena said the operation required three-dimensional digital and computerized technology that was “made to measure” for Zanardi.

“The complexity of the case was fairly unique, although this is a type of fracture that we deal with routinely,” Gennaro said in a hospital statement.

After the surgery, Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma.

“His condition remains stable in terms of his cardio-respiratory status and grave in terms of his neurological status,” the hospital medical bulletin read.

The 53-year-old Zanardi, who lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago, has been on a ventilator since the crash.

Zanardi suffered serious facial and cranial trauma, and doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

Zanardi won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.

Last month, Pope Francis penned a handwritten letter of encouragement assuring Zanardi and his family of his prayers. The pope praised Zanardi as an example of strength amid adversity.

Shawn Johnson East shares struggles with body image, prescription drugs

Shawn Johnson
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Shawn Johnson East, a 2008 Olympic gymnastics champion, detailed past struggles with body image and prescription drugs and reflected on her eating disorder as an elite athlete, to show there is hope to others in difficult situations.

“It all started with pregnancy and having my daughter,” East, who had daughter Drew in October, said on TODAY on Monday. “I had so many people asking me questions about how did pregnancy affect you mentally and how did you get your body back after having your daughter. I couldn’t answer that without giving a greater and a larger story.”

East first went public about her undiagnosed teenage eating disorders in 2015, three years after retiring from the sport. She said she limited herself to 700 calories per day and didn’t tell her parents.

In a June YouTube video, Johnson said she also binged and purged, including while dating future husband Andrew in the mid-2010s. And that she had depression and anxiety in 2011, when she returned to competition for the first time since the Beijing Games.

“I thought it would fix all of my problems,” East said of returning to gymnastics for a 2012 Olympic bid.

When East won “Dancing with the Stars” in 2009, she “hit a very low spot” going through puberty on national TV. She said she gained 15 pounds after the 2008 Olympics and started taking medications and drugs “to look like I did at the Olympics.” It included fad diets, diuretics and a three-week stretch of eating nothing but raw vegetables.

“Most pain of my entire life because I couldn’t digest anything,” she said.

At some point in 2011, East began feeling burned out. She was back to eating too few calories and overtraining. An unnamed USA Gymnastics doctor prescribed her Adderall “to lose more weight, have more energy and be more successful in gymnastics.” She took “heavy doses.”

“It helped my performances, but there were massive consequences to it,” she said. “I continued to compete into 2012, where I just started to get depressed.

“I was overdosing on Adderall. I was overdosing on any medication that wouldn’t be caught by USADA.”

Adderall was a banned substance in competition without a therapeutic use exemption, but was legal outside of competition.

“I was so controlled by other people’s opinions that I wouldn’t live up to that Olympic standard that I did anything to get it back and I could never have it back,” East said. “I didn’t learn that until later on.”

East’s mental hurdles re-emerged when she had a miscarriage in 2017. She blamed herself, believing her unhealthy lifestyle in the past was a contributor.

“Our natural inclination is to say, what did I do? And what did I do wrong?” she said. “It haunted me. I felt like I had sacrificed everything for an Olympic medal to not actually get the dream I had wanted my entire life [to have a child].”

With the help of a nutritionist and therapist and her husband, she conquered the demons through her 2019 pregnancy and childbirth.

“Having gone through a whole pregnancy and knowing that I felt confident through the whole thing, I feel like I’ve climbed Everest,” she said.

MORE: Why Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson went 8 years without talking

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