2020 Tokyo Olympics: Florida Gators win eight gold among 14 medals in stellar showing

By Adam Silverstein
August 7, 2021
2020 Tokyo Olympics: Florida Gators win eight gold among 14 medals in stellar showing
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Image Credit: IOC

One year later than expected, during a competition held without fans in attendance, the Florida Gators nevertheless managed to put together a dominant performance at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. With that stellar effort, Florida was once again the best performing of any collegiate program, bringing home 14 medal, including eight gold.

If Gator Nation was its own country, its eight gold medals would place it 11th in the medal count. Florida’s 14 overall event medals are tied for 19th with Poland.

(Editor’s note: For an apples-to-apples comparison, UF’s medals were counted by event — as is customary in the Olympics — rather than by athlete so as not to unnecessarily and artificially inflate the already tremendous achievements. Check out the full roster and results.)

The Gators did most of their work in the water with superstar swimmer Caeleb Dressel and burgeoning talent Bobby Finke of the United States combining to win seven gold medals, including three in a single two-hour period. Dressel captured five golds in his six events at the Games; his lone effort without a medal was the mixed 4x100m medley relay. He now has seven gold medals in his Olympic career without a single silver or bronze.

  • GOLD: Caeleb Dressel — 4x100m freestyle relay — 3:08.97 (1st)
  • GOLD: Caeleb Dressel — 100m freestyle — 47.02 (1st)
  • GOLD: Caeleb Dressel — 100m butterfly — 49.45s (1st) [WR]
  • GOLD: Caeleb Dressel — 4x100m medley relay — 3:26.78 (1st) [WR]
  • GOLD: Caeleb Dressel — 50m freestyle — 21.07 (1st) [OR]
  • GOLD: Bobby Finke — 800m freestyle — 7:41.87 (1st)
  • GOLD: Bobby Finke — 1500m freestyle — 14:39.65 (1st)

The lone gold to come outside the pool was won by the Canadian women’s soccer team. Adriana Leon and Deanne Rose saw action in every match across the Olympics for Canada and made a number of key plays throughout those games. In a 1(3)-1(2) penalty kick-aided win over Sweden in the final, Leon and Rose ensured that they continued Florida’s streak of winning a gold medal in women’s soccer dating back to the 2004 Athens Olympics (five straight).

The Gators were not as successful on the diamond, however, with Team USA falling short in two gold medal games, losing both 2-0 to Japan. Right fielder Michelle Moultrie, catcher Aubree Munro and third baseman Kelsey Stewart all saw significant action for the softball team, while Mark Kolozsvary started every game for the baseball team.

  • GOLD: Canada def. Sweden 1(3)-1(2) — Soccer
  • SILVER: Japan def. United States, 2-0 — Softball
  • SILVER: Japan def. United States 2-0 — Baseball

Florida’s lone other silver came on the track as Grant Holloway of the United States finished second in the 100-meter hurdles. Holloway, ranked No. 1 in the world entering the Olympics, appeared just a bit off in the final race. It was expected that he would compete for a world record time but instead fell finished short of his personal best. Still, it was an incredible effort from Holloway, who dominated the first two rounds and will be a gold medal favorite in 2024.

The remaining medals all came in the pool with Americans Natalie Hinds, Kieran Smith and Taylor Mason posting third-place finishes. None were favored to win gold, though there was hope that Smith would post a strong time and perhaps top the medal stand.

  • SILVER: Grant Holloway — 110m hurdles — 13.09s (2nd)
  • BRONZE: Natalie Hinds — 4x100m freestyle relay — 3:32:81 (3rd)
  • BRONZE: Kieran Smith — 400m freestyle — 3:43.94 (3rd)
  • BRONZE: Taylor Manson — 4x400m relay mixed — 3:10.22 (3rd)

The efforts of Florida athletes in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics exceed what the program has accomplished previously. The Gators finished 22nd in golds and overall medals in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The eight golds won by Florida athletes this year doubled the four won by program representatives in the 2012 London Olympics.

Twelve Gators won a grand total of 17 medals as individuals (nine gold, five silver, three bronze) in 14 events. Of those 14 events, 13 medals went to the United States and one to Canada. Five more athletes had medal opportunities but ultimately fell short.

Overall, there were 30 Florida athletes representing 15 countries (United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Jordan, Germany, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bahamas, Jamaica, France, Liberia, Australia, U.S. Virgin Islands, Japan, Serbia) and competing in dozens of events. Basketball player Bradley Beal was the 31st Gators athlete who qualified for the Games, but he was left off Team USA due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

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