Image Credit: Associated Press
Though the Florida Gators had impressed throughout the 2016 Rio Olympics, they were most certainly not on the same track they were in medal-winning four years ago.
And while Florida did not finish these Summer Games with the same total, it cleaned up in medals over its final 48 hours in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, capturing four medals — three in track & field, including two golds.
American runner Kerron Clement, who won silver in the 400m hurdles during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, came back in force after eight years off to take his first solo gold medal in the same event this year. (Clement also has gold in the 4x400m relay from Beijing.) Clement earned his gold Thursday night, blazing past the field in 47.73.
Early Saturday, Kelly Murphy helped the United States to bronze in volleyball with a 3-1 (25-23, 25-27, 25-22, 25-19) win over Netherlands. Murphy piled up stats throughout the Olympics but saw her team fall in the semifinals in a thrilling match against Serbia on Thursday. Murphy scored seven points on Saturday in the bronze medal match.
Saturday evening’s track & field event event was one of the most successful sessions of the entire Olympics for the Gators.
Jamaican runner Novlene Williams-Mills, competing in her fourth Olympics, captured silver as anchor in the 4x400m relay. Williams-Mills now has four Olympic medals in the event, including another silver in Beijing (2008) and bronze in Athens (2004) and London (2012).
The evening and Florida’s entire Olympics came to a conclusion in dramatic fashion about 45 minutes later when two Gators — runners Arman Hall and Tony McQuay — were chosen to lead off the 4x400m relay for the United States. Hall and McQuay ran the first two legs and delivered a gold medal for the United States. McQuay had previously won silver in the event during the 2012 London Olympics.
Florida closes the Olympics with 11 medals, including six gold, three silver and two bronze. There were two events in which multiple Gators participated in a relay, but those medals only count once, just as they would if UF was a country. As such, Florida currently stands 21st in the international medal count.