Raymond claims first Olympic medal at age 38

Former Florida Gators tennis player Lisa Raymond (United States) had two opportunities on Sunday to capture her first Olympic medal. Following a disappointing finish in women’s doubles, Raymond and partner Mike Bryan stood tough against their German competitors and won bronze in mixed doubles at the 2012 London Olympics.

The most accomplished tennis player in school history, Raymond was the first of any gender to sweep the three collegiate Grand Slam titles in a single season (1992). She captured consecutive NCAA Championships as a singles competitor in 1992-93 and helped lead the Gators to the first team NCAA Championship in program history.

Despite not finding much success as a professional singles player, Raymond has been an outstanding doubles teammate. She has won 11 Grand Slam titles over her career including six in women’s doubles and five in mixed doubles.

Raymond/Bryan won Wimbledon in June.

Raymond has also been a part of a No. 1-ranked women’s doubles team twice in her career including this year with partner Liezel Huber, making her – at age 38 – the oldest woman to ever hold that ranking.

Her Olympics career has not been as stellar, however. Raymond was controversially left off the 2000 team and did not qualify for the 2008 squad. She did, however, compete alongside the legendary Martina Navratilova at the 2004 Athens Olympics; the duo fell in the quarterfinals and did not medal.

As the top-ranked team in the world, adding Raymond/Huber to the 2012 team was a no-brainer for the Americans, and Raymond in particular came bitingly close to brining home two medals for the United States.

In the end she and Bryan, ranked third in the field, took bronze with a 6-3, 4-6 (10-4) victory in an event that was last contested at the Olympics in 1924.

Raymond/Huber, listed as the No. 1 women’s doubles team, played well earlier in the day but fell to the third-ranked Russians 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. Huber appeared to injure a stomach muscle following the second set and the duo was unable to perform at the same level for the duration of the match.

For recaps of their performances, a full schedule (including updated events for Monday), live stream links and a Gator Nation vs. The World medal count, be sure to check out OGGOA’s Live Coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

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Beisel, Claye add bronze medals to Florida’s haul

Junior swimmer Elizabeth Beisel ended her journey at the 2012 London Olympics with a bang, and former Florida Gators jumper Will Claye started his in the same fashion as the duo each reeled in a bronze medal for the United States over the weekend.

Beisel, who previously captured a silver medal in the Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley on July 28, became the second-winningest Gators athlete of these Olympics so far (Ryan Lochte) with a bronze in the Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke on Friday.

One of the favorites in the event, Beisel was treading water in fourth place most of the race but fought hard over the final 50 meters to sneak into third and capture the bronze with a time of 2:06.55 (+2.49).

On the second day of athletics action, Claye found himself in a battle for a medal in the Men’s Long Jump. In second after his second jump (8.07m), Claye quickly got bumped down to fifth but was given three more jumps as he was still in the top eight.

He used the first of his new set of jumps to register a mark of 8.12m, which put him back in line for a silver medal. However, Australia’s Mitchell Watt was dynamic on his final two jumps and first took then increased his lead on Claye, hitting 8.13m on his fifth try and 8.16m on his sixth to claim the silver for himself.

Claye, who captured the first field medal in Gators history and the first Men’s Long Jump medal for the Americans since 2004, will be one of three former Florida student-athletes competing in the Men’s Triple Jump, which begins on Tuesday at 5:45 a.m.

For recaps of their performances, a full schedule (including updated events for Monday), live stream links and a Gator Nation vs. The World medal count, be sure to check out OGGOA’s Live Coverage of the 2012 London Olympics.

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FOUR BITS: Lochte, Starks, Pouncey, Tebow

1 » Former Florida Gators swimmer and current United States Olympian Ryan Lochte filmed a television commercial for AT&T at Broward Pool on the campus at the University of Florida in June. That commercial has since been completed and was released online Monday. Though the spot was filmed at Florida, no mentions of the Gators or school are made and it is impossible to tell where it was shot due to the fact that most of the commercial consists of animated additions. Check it out:

2 » A free agent coming off yet another devastating end-of-season injury, tackle Max Starks was unsure as to whether or not he would be re-signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers – the only NFL team he has ever played for – this year. Starks, who was unsigned heading into the 2011 season due to weight issues and a neck injury but was picked up by Pittsburgh mid-season as an injury replacement, wound up starting every game he played in. He went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the Steelers’ first and only playoff game and has spent the entire offseason undergoing rehabilitation, wondering if he would be signed again to team up with draft-mate and close friend quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Starks got his wish Tuesday when he announced via Twitter that that he has re-signed with Pittsburgh. (He tweeted a picture of the top of his new contract.) The Steelers now have four Gators on their roster including center Maurkice Pouncey, left tackle Marcus Gilbert and rookie running back Chris Rainey.

3 » Reflecting on his first season as a professional football player, Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey told his team’s website that he is ready to take what he learned and infuse it into an even better sophomore campaign. “It went by fast and I still can’t believe how fast it went by,” Pouncey said. “Going through one year in the NFL it just already feels like I learned so much and I just can’t wait to go out there and see how I do this year. I know it’s going to be a huge improvement from last year.” Concluding the season as a Pro Bowl alternate, he did not make his way to Hawaii for the game but certainly earned the respect of his veteran teammates. “He’s a straight athlete, a center at 6-foot-5 that can move,” said nine-year veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby. “He makes me better, period. I try to make him better as much as I possibly can and he tries to do the same. We always compete every chance we get and it’s a great give and take with a guy like that that’s so talented. He’s almost like a tight end at center.” Pouncey also said he is trying to step up as a “vocal leader” in the locker room for the Dolphins.

4 » The New York Jets are set to open training camp at SUNY-Cortland in late July and as many would expect quarterback Tim Tebow is going to be the main attraction. What Cortland, NY did not expect, however, was how much interest there would be on a national level from Christian groups hoping to take something of a pilgrimage to watch him scrimmage. “A couple months ago, I got a call from a church group, then another and I thought it was interesting, not groups we normally get calls from,” Cortland County Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesman Jim Dempsey told The New York Times. “Right now, we have no way of knowing how many more groups will come because of Tim Tebow. But we expect a lot.”

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FOUR BITS: Lochte, Bell, Parker, football on TV

1 » The 2012 London Olympics are just two weeks away and more than two dozen current and former Florida Gators student-athletes and coaches will be participating in the games. Swimmer Ryan Lochte, who will have multiple opportunities to bring home gold medals for the United States, recently participated in an ESPN The Magazine story about the “real games” that take place in the Olympic Village. Lochte estimates that 70-75 percent of Olympians have sex with fellow Olympians in the Village: “Hey, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.” He also said he hopes to take advantage of the opportunities presented by living in the Olympic Village this time around (he had a steady girlfriend in 2008 and was faithful to her while in Beijing, China). “Now I’m single, so London should be really good. I’m excited,” he said.

2 » Three-star defensive back Tre Bell, who committed to play for Florida in April, put on a show at a camp held by Nike in Oregon last week. As you can see below in the video from FOXSports.com, he was all over the field making plays and even threw in a few Gator Chomps for good measure. Bell is not listed on either the Rivals250 or ESPN 300 as of press time but that may change soon if he continues to play at a high level.

3 » A five-star forward and the consensus No. 1 recruit in the nation for 2013, Jabari Parker (Chicago, IL) recently released his top 10 on Twitter and included Florida in that list though he did mention that it was in no particular order. Also in his top 10 are Brigham Young, DePaul, Duke, Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Stanford. Landing Parker will be difficult for the Gators and head coach Billy Donovan though it is certainly not out of the realm of possibility. Florida’s primary target continues to be five-star power forward Chris Walker (Bonifay, FL), the No. 6 player in the 2013 class, who the Gators hope to team up with five-star point guard commit Kasey Hill (Clermont, FL).

4 » Florida announced Friday that “an exclusive off-season special” on Gators football (featuring an interview with head coach Will Muschamp and “exclusive all-access footage from spring practice) will air Sunday, July 15 at 9:30 a.m. on Sun Sports. Also on television Sunday (at 3 p.m. – check your local listings) will be an episode of Havoline Football Saturdays in the South featuring former Florida wide receiver Chris Doering. Replays for the Gators football offseason special are as follows: July 16 at 4 p.m., July 18 at 10:30 a.m., July 19 at 6 p.m., July 25 at 5 p.m., July 29 at noon, Aug. 2 at 10:30 a.m., Aug. 16 at 11 a.m., Aug. 26 at 9:30 a.m. (all on Sun Sports).

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7/2: Gators wrap up 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Seventeen current and former Florida Gators track & field athletes and 35 current and former Florida swimmers participated in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, OR and Omaha, NE over the last two weeks.

In all seven Gators – four track & field athletes, three swimmers – qualified for the 2012 London Olympics after competing in the two events. Joining these current and former student-athletes are Mike Holloway, an assistant coach on Team USA for sprinters and hurdlers, and Gregg Troy, the Americans’ head swimming coach for these Olympic games.

OGGOA will offer comprehensive coverage of the 2012 London Olympics including a dedicated page, numerous widgets and daily updates. Below is the final update for the track & field and swimming team trials, which concluded on Monday.

EVENT RESULTS – JULY 2

Swimming
WOMEN’S 50 METER FREESTYLE
Dara Torres4th – 24.82Did not qualify
» Torres’s Olympic career ends with 12 medals (four golds) over five games.

QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Junior Tony McQuay – Men’s 400 Meter Dash
Will Claye – Men’s Long Jump, Men’s Triple Jump
Christian Taylor – Men’s Triple Jump
Kerron Clement – Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles

Swimming
Ryan Lochte – Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke, Men’s 200 Meter Individual Medley
Conor Dwyer – Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 800 Meter Freestyle Relay
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel – Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke

(Additional relays that McQuay, Clement, Lochte, Dwyer and Beisel may compete in have yet to be determined or announced.)

ELIMINATED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Senior Gray Horn – Men’s Decathalon – finished third, did not qualify
Junior Dwight Barbiasz – Men’s High Jump – advanced to finals
Wes Stockbarger – Men’s Discus Throw – advanced to finals
Senior Jeff Demps – Men’s 100 Meter Dash – advanced to finals
Freshman Marquis Dendy – Men’s Long Jump – advanced to finals
Mason Cathey – Women’s 3,000 Meter Steeplechase – advanced to finals
Calvin Smith – Men’s 400 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Sophomore Ebony Eutsey – Women’s 400 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Freshman Dedric Dukes – Men’s 200 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Sophomore Eddie Lovett – Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles – advanced to semifinals
Junior Jeremy Postin – Men’s Hammer Throw
Sophomore Cory McGee – Women’s 1,500 Meter Run

Swimming
Men: Rex Tullius (finals), Matthew Norton, Mike Joyce, Alex Martin, junior Cameron Martin, junior Jason Taylor, sophomore Connor Signorin, sophomore Bradley deBorde, freshman Matt Elliott (finals), freshman Austin Ringquist, freshman Matthew Curby, freshman Carlos Omana, freshman James Turner, freshman Austin Manganiello, freshman Ricky Munch, freshman Nicholas Caldwell, freshman Colin Hamilton, freshman Billy Silva
Women: Dara Torres (finals), senior Teresa Crippen (finals – 2), junior Jamie Bohunicky, junior Sharla Milne, sophomore Kaitlin Frehling, sophomore Trish Regan, sophomore Alicia Mathieu, sophomore Julia Treible, sophomore Alana Pazevic, freshman Rebecca Rainer, freshman Molly Dubrasky, freshman Jordan Smith, freshman Savannah Napier, freshman Lauren Neidigh,

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Gator Bites for Monday, July 2

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. In these instances, or when stories fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Former Florida Gators pitcher Darren O’Day, currently a reliever for the Baltimore Orioles after spending time with three other MLB teams, was pranked by MLB Fan Cave and his manager Buck Showalter. Watch him get chewed out and completely fall for it:

» Former Gators striker and current U.S. Women’s National Team star Abby Wambach sat down for an in-depth and informative interview with ABC’s Robin Roberts and discussed a number of topics including the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. Wambach became an extremely popular sports figure after leading the Americans to the finals of the 2011 Women’s World Cup with some incredibly clutch goals and is now the face of the sport in the United States.

» Former Florida swimmer Ryan Lochte spoke with NBC‘s Bob Costas when he was done competing in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials over the weekend. Lochte speaks about the Olympics, his rivalry with Phelps and learning how to become a better athlete and competitor (Video).

» The Detroit Pistons did not extend a qualifying offer to former Gators forward/center Vernon Macklin over the weekend, officially making him an unrestricted free agent just one year after the team selected him with the No. 52 overall pick in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Despite not being tendered, Macklin will still play with Detroit’s summer league team in hopes of being re-signed or catching the eye of another squad. He was sent down to the NBA D-League during the season but dominated the competition by averaging 14.5 points and 14.3 rebounds in the games he played. He should be picked up by a team at some point sooner than later.

Read SIX more Gator Bites on Nelson, Cooper, Hill and Beal…after the break!
Continue Reading » Gator Bites for Monday, July 2

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7/1: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Seventeen current and former Florida Gators track & field athletes are currently in Eugene, OR participating in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the opportunity to represent their country in the 2012 London Olympics. Simultaneously, 35 current and former Gators swimmers are in Omaha, NE working toward the exact same goal.

Below is an update on how each has performed through the 10th (track & field) and seventh (swimming) days of the events as well as a schedule for the remainder of the trials.

EVENT RESULTS – JULY 1

Track & Field
MEN’S 400 METER HURDLES
Kerron Clement3rd – 48.89Qualified for Olympics
» Clement was a silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Swimming
WOMEN’S 200 METER BACKSTROKE
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel2nd – 2:07.58Qualified for Olympics
» Beisel also qualified in the 400 Meter Individual Medley.
Senior Teresa Crippen6th – 2:11.79Did not qualify

MEN’S 100 METER BUTTERFLY
Ryan Lochte3rd – 51.65Did not qualify

WOMEN’S 50 METER FREESTYLE (Semifinals)
Dara Torres3rd – 24.80Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Monday, July 2 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not advance to semifinals: sophomore Kaitlin Frehling (Heat 8 – 26.36)

QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Junior Tony McQuay – Men’s 400 Meter Dash
Will Claye – Men’s Long Jump, Men’s Triple Jump
Christian Taylor – Men’s Triple Jump
Kerron Clement – Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles

Swimming
Ryan Lochte – Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 200 Meter Backstroke, Men’s 200 Meter Individual Medley
Conor Dwyer – Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 800 Meter Freestyle Relay
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel – Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Women’s 200 Meter Backstroke

UPCOMING EVENTS

Swimming
JULY 2 FINALS (8-9 p.m. live on NBC)
Women’s 50 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 1,500 Meter Freestyle

ELIMINATED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Senior Gray Horn – Men’s Decathalon – finished third, did not qualify
Junior Dwight Barbiasz – Men’s High Jump – advanced to finals
Christian Taylor – Men’s Long Jump – advanced to finals
Wes Stockbarger – Men’s Discus Throw – advanced to finals
Senior Jeff Demps – Men’s 100 Meter Dash – advanced to finals
Freshman Marquis Dendy – Men’s Long Jump – advanced to finals
Mason Cathey – Women’s 3,000 Meter Steeplechase – advanced to finals
Calvin Smith – Men’s 400 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Sophomore Ebony Eutsey – Women’s 400 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Freshman Dedric Dukes – Men’s 200 Meter Dash – advanced to semifinals
Sophomore Eddie Lovett – Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles – advanced to semifinals
Junior Jeremy Postin – Men’s Hammer Throw
Sophomore Cory McGee – Women’s 1,500 Meter Run

Swimming
With so many athletes competing in multiple events, this will be updated after the trials.

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6/29: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Seventeen current and former Florida Gators track & field athletes are currently in Eugene, OR participating in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the opportunity to represent their country in the 2012 London Olympics. Simultaneously, 35 current and former Gators swimmers are in Omaha, NE working toward the exact same goal.

Below is an update on how each has performed through the eighth (track & field) and fifth (swimming) days of the events as well as a schedule for the remainder of the trials.

EVENT RESULTS – JUNE 29

Track & Field
WOMEN’S 3,000 METER STEEPLECHASE
Mason Cathey11th – 9:54.07Did not qualify

MEN’S 400 METER HURDLES (Semifinals)
Kerron Clement3rd – 49.04Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Sunday, July 1 at 7:12 p.m. live on NBC

MEN’S 200 METER DASH
Freshman Dedric Dukes10th – 20.54Advanced to semifinals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 at 9:00 p.m. live on NBC

MEN’S 110 METER HURDLES
Sophomore Eddie Lovett11th – 13.49Advanced to semifinals
» Lovett’s 13.49 is a personal record.
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 at 7:20 p.m.

Swimming
WOMEN’S 200 METER BUTTERFLY
Senior Teresa Crippen4th – 2:09.45Did not qualify

MEN’S 200 METER BREASTSTROKE
Freshman Matt Elliott8th – 2:12.71Did not qualify

MEN’S 200 METER BACKSTROKE (Semifinals)
Ryan Lochte1st – 1:55.73Advanced to finals
Rex Tullius5th – 1:58.79Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not qualify for semifinals: sophomore Connor Signorin (Heat 3 – 2:05.32), freshmanAustin Ringquist (Heat 1 – 2:07.03)

MEN’S 200 METER INDIVIDUAL MEDLEY (Semifinals)
Ryan Lochte1st – 1:55.51Advanced to finals
Conor Dwyer3rd – 1:58.32Advanced to finals
» Next competing: Saturday, June 30 from 8-9 p.m. live on NBC
» Did not qualify for semifinals: freshman Matthew Curby (Heat 10 – 2:04.10), Mike Joyce (Heat 9 – 2:04.36), Alex Martin (Heat 4 – 2:05.08), freshman Carlos Omana (Heat 9 – 2:05.49), sophomore Connor Signorin (Heat 13 – 2:06.40), freshman Austin Ringquist (Heat 2 – 2:11.09)

WOMEN’S 100 METER FREESTYLE (Semifinals)
» Did not qualify for semifinals: junior Jamie Bohunicky (Heat 10 – 56.48), sophomore Kaitlin Frehling (Heat 2 – 57.21)

WOMEN’S 200 METER BREASTSTROKE (Semifinals)
» Did not qualify for semifinals: freshman Rebecca Rainer (Heat 9 – 2:34.12), sophomore Julia Treible (Heat 4 – 2:41.01)

QUALIFIED ATHLETES

Track & Field
Junior Tony McQuay – Men’s 400 Meter Dash
Will Claye – Men’s Long Jump

Swimming
Ryan Lochte – Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle
Conor Dwyer – Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle, Men’s 800 Meter Freestyle Relay
Sophomore Elizabeth Beisel – Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley

Read about the Upcoming Events and Eliminated Athletes…after the break!

Continue Reading » 6/29: Gators at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials

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