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:

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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

Matthew Centrowitz redeems, Jenny Simpson upset at USATF Outdoors

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Matthew Centrowitz won his fifth U.S. 1500m title, while Jenny Simpson‘s run of four straight ended at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines on Saturday.

Centrowitz, who in Rio became the first U.S. Olympic 1500m champion in 108 years, emerged from a bunched pack in the final 200 meters to win in 3:43.37.

The 28-year-old returned to the top after being beaten by Olympic teammate Robby Andrews last year. Centrowitz struggled with injuries and illness in 2017, including an emergency-room visit with a viral infection. At 2017 Worlds, a listless Centrowitz was last in his first-round heat and said he was unable to get more than two straight weeks of healthy training all season.

Centrowitz crossed the Drake Stadium finish line Saturday afternoon, a comfortable .26 ahead of Izaic Yorks, and held his hand to his ear to mimic a phone call. He said he was sending a message for somebody, whom he would not name, to call him.

“Satisfaction out there,” Centrowitz told Lewis Johnson on NBC. “A little sense of relief, get back on top.”

Simpson, the Olympic bronze medalist, was beaten by Olympic 5000m runner Shelby Houlihan for the second time this season. The Sioux City native Houlihan surged past Simpson on the final straight, just as she did at the Pre Classic last month.

“I’m totally bummed, but I guess I have a lot of practice at losing as well as winning,” Simpson told media in Des Moines. “It felt a little weird being at U.S. Championships and getting outkicked.”

Houlihan won in 4:05.48, .73 ahead of runner-up Simpson.

“I feel like she’s way ahead of me,” Houlihan said of Simpson. “She’s someone I’ve looked up to since high school.”

An American record fell Saturday. Deanna Price took the women’s hammer record back from Gwen Berry with a 78.12-meter throw, the best in the world this year.

USATF Outdoors conclude Sunday on NBC (4-6 p.m. ET) and NBC Sports Gold (12:30-6 p.m.), highlighted by 200m, 5000m and 110m hurdles finals.

USATF Outdoors: TV Schedule | Results | Women’s Preview | Men’s Preview

Also Saturday, Shakima Wimbley and Kahmari Montgomery won their first U.S. titles in the 400m.

Wimbley prevailed in 49.52, lowering her personal best by .66, tying the fastest time in the world this year and torching a field lacking the last two world champions, Phyllis Francis and Allyson Felix. Wimbley showed promise at the Pre Classic last month, finishing third behind Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Francis.

Montgomery clocked 44.58 to win, two weeks after finishing seventh at the NCAA Championships for the University of Houston. The men’s field lacked 2008 Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt and Michael Norman, the fastest man in the world this year who opted to race the 200m this week.

World-record holder Kendra Harrison repeated as 100m hurdles champion. Harrison clocked 12.46, off of her world record of 12.20. Olympic champion Brianna McNeal, who beat Harrison in Shanghai on May 12, was not in the field.

World gold and silver medalists Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs went one-two in the 3000m steeplechase. Coburn, the Olympic bronze medalist, earned her seventh national title in eight years by clocking 9:17.70. She pulled away from Frerichs on the last lap to win by .99. Nobody else finished within 15 seconds.

“[Frerichs] gave me a run for my money,” Coburn, who has been beaten by a countrywoman once in eight years, said on NBC. “This is going to be a battle that’s worth watching for years to come.”

In the pole vault, Olympic bronze medalist and world champion Sam Kendricks cleared 5.85 meters for his fifth straight U.S. title.

Vashti Cunningham repeated as high jump champion by clearing 1.95 meters. Cunningham, whose father and coach is retired NFL All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, was 13th at the Olympics and 10th at the world championships.

Darrell Hill upset Olympic champion Ryan Crouser in the shot put, winning with a 21.57-meter throw. Hill improved to 3-17 against Crouser. Crouser came to Des Moines with the top 23 throws by an American this year out of his 24 total legal throws, according to Tilastopaja.org. But on Saturday he had five fouls in six throws. His only legal throw was 20.99 meters for second place.

NCAA runner-up Kenny Selmon won the 400m hurdles from lane eight against a field that lacked Olympic champion Kerron Clement. Selmon clocked 48.21 seconds, three tenths ahead of TJ Holmes, who was fifth at 2017 Worlds.

The favorites advanced to Sunday’s semifinals in the 200m and 110m hurdles, including 400m indoor world-record holder Michael Norman and Olympian Ameer Webb in the 200m and world-record holder Aries Merritt, Olympian Devon Allen and NCAA champion Grant Holloway in the hurdles.

MORE: Lyles, Norman, green teens at Olympic Trials, now stars at USATF Champs

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U.S. Open changes seeding policy for pregnancies

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Serena Williams will learn Wednesday if she is seeded at Wimbledon, while a top U.S. Open official is already reportedly saying its seeds will be revised if a return from pregnancy comes into play, though not naming Williams specifically.

The U.S. Open, the fourth and final Grand Slam tournament of the year in September, would “revise the seedings if pregnancy is a factor in the current rankings of a player,” USTA president and chairwoman Katrina Adams said, according to The New York Times.

Williams, a 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, was not given one of 32 seeds at the French Open in May, her first Grand Slam since coming back from having daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jron Sept. 1.

Her ranking had fallen to No. 453 due to maternity leave. She could enter the major tournament due to the WTA’s protected ranking rule, but it was up to Grand Slam organizers whether to give her a seed.

Williams reached the semifinals of her last eight U.S. Opens, missing the New York event in 2010 and 2017. She has won it six times. Her current ranking is No. 183.

If Williams neither makes a deep Wimbledon run nor plays plenty of summer hard-court matches, it’s likely the U.S. Open will have to decide whether to give her a seed. It sounds like organizers are prepared to.

“It’s the right thing to do for these mothers that are coming back,” Adams said, according to the report, adding that players should not be “penalized” for starting a family.

Williams reached the fourth round of the French Open in her first Grand Slam since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant (but before the world learned). She withdrew before a round of 16 showdown with Maria Sharapova due to a pectoral muscle injury and has not played in a tournament since.

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