Olympic Memories

Before achieving Olympic and Paralympic greatness, these former college athletes worked hard in the classroom and in their sport.

Paralympic moment: Holmes won a bronze medal in the long jump at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece, a gold medal in the 100 meters at the 2008 Games in Beijing and another bronze in the 100 at the 2012 Games in London. She will represent the U.S. in track and field at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Paralympic takeaway: “Regardless of your pain, circumstances, obstacles or doubters, rise to the challenge.”

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Olympic moment: In the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Mills ran a personal best by 46 seconds in the 10,000-meter final, resulting in a stunning come-from-behind victory and a new Olympic record.  Runner’s World Magazine chose his victory as the second-greatest Olympic moment of the 20th century. He remains the only American to win Olympic gold at 10,000 meters and was the first American to be ranked No. 1 in the world at that distance.

Olympic takeaway: “What I took from the Olympic Games was not winning an Olympic gold medal, but an understanding of unity through the dignity, character and beauty of global diversity.”

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Olympic moment: As team captain, DeFrantz led her crew, eight oars with a coxswain, to earn an Olympic bronze medal in rowing in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.  In 1980 when the U.S. boycotted the summer Olympic Games in Moscow, she was a member of the U.S. rowing team. In 1986, the International Olympic Committee appointed DeFrantz to lifetime membership in the organization. She became the first female vice president of the IOC executive committee in 1997.

Olympic takeaway: “Your goal should be out of reach, but not out of sight.” 

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Olympic moment: Marquis was named to the USA Basketball national team for the 1976 Olympics, the first year that women’s basketball was played at the Olympics. The U.S. team ended with a record of 3-2, losing to the eventual gold medal-winning USSR in its penultimate game and winning its final game against Czechoslovakia to take home the silver medal.

Olympic takeaway: Marquis credits her success and that of the ’76 Olympic team to something she calls the three D’s: desire, dedication and discipline.

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Olympic moment: At the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, Juneau was the leading scorer on the Canadian national hockey team and led the team to a silver medal. During the tournament’s eight games, he had six goals and nine assists for 15 points.

Olympic takeaway: Juneau proclaims those Games as the highlight of his career. “We were all amateurs (on the Canadian men’s ice hockey team) and we managed to get a silver medal, and I was the high scorer in the tournament. It was great. I went to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, and as much fun as it was, I didn’t think it was like the Olympics were."

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Putting Rio Within Reach

More than 1,000 current and former student-athletes are competing for dozens of countries at the Olympics.

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