The 2016 Olympic Games came to a close in Rio de Janeiro Sunday evening, bringing to an end an event that will be remembered by many for its athletic competitions, global community, and inspiring sportsmanship.
For those in Athens, however, the 2016 Olympics will likely be remembered for the exemplary performance of past and present University of Georgia athletes who participated in the games.
The Red and Black lists 28 current and former Bulldogs as having gone to Brazil to compete, taking part in events ranging from swimming and diving to track and field to golf.
Of those 28 athletes, 13 represented Team USA and assisted in the US leading all countries with 121 medals, including 46 gold, an unprecedented achievement for a non-boycotted games. UGA athletes contributed six medals, four of which were gold, to the American effort, the Flagpole reports.
Swimmer Gunnar Bentz won a gold medal in the men’s 4x200-meter relay, while swimmers Melanie Margolis and Allison Schmidt both captured gold medals in the women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay.
Olivia Smoliga, another UGA swimmer, placed gold in the 4x100-meter relay.
The other 15 Bulldogs competed for a variety of nations, including Finland, the Bahamas, and Brazil. Shaunae Miller brought a gold medal home for the Bahamas in the women’s 400-meter dash.
In addition, Brittany MacLean and Chantal Van Landeghem each won bronze for Canada in the 4x200-meter freestyle and the 4x100-meter freestyle, respectively.
UGA athletes weren’t just making noise in competition, however. In the waning days of the Olympics, gold medalist Bentz, along with fellow swimmers Ryan Lochte, Jack Conger, and Jimmy Feigen, became embroiled in a controversy surrounding the events that took place at a Rio gas station on August 14.
The event, originally reported by the media as a robbery, was later revealed to have been a confrontation between some of the swimmers and security guards at a gas station after the swimmers reportedly urinated behind the building and Lochte knocked over a metal sign in the store.
Bentz released a statement through the University of Georgia, saying he apologized for distracting from the accomplishments of other athletes at the Olympics but stressed that he never lied about the incident nor did he break any laws.
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