McQuay's sensational day earns silver
Florida didn't quite match the best day in Gators Olympic history on Friday, but Tony McQuay helped the U.S. win a silver. It was a very disappointing silver, too, but not because of anything McQuay did.
McQuay ran the third leg of of the 4 x 400 meters relay for the U.S., and gave Angelo Taylor a chance to win Team USA's eighth straight gold in the event. But Taylor got caught by the Bahamas' Ramon Miller in the final 100 meters of the anchor leg, and the Bahamas won its first track gold by handing the Americans a stunning defeat.
It's sort of a catch-22 for McQuay: had the U.S. not dealt with injuries to LaShawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner, he might not have run in the 4 x 4, but if the U.S. had been able to run either of those speedsters, it might have won, extending a streak of crossing the line first in every 4 x 400 final it has been in since 1954. (In 1972, bans for two Americans that protested the national anthem for political reasons left the U.S. with just three eligible runners; in 1980, the U.S. didn't compete in the Moscow Olympics.)
There's no question, though, that he did his job, giving experienced closer Taylor a lead with a blazing 43.41 split, the fastest of the final, and what would have been the second-fastest split in 2008's final. He established himself as a go-to 400 runner for the U.S. with that split, and gave the team a lead it should have capitalized on for gold. Taylor just couldn't hold it, clearly running out of gas as Miller passed him and struggling to a 44.85 finish.
That happens. Streaks end. McQuay got a silver medal that maybe should have been gold.
It'll just be motivation to go get some gold in Rio.
Demps helps U.S. edge Jamaica
Usain Bolt's made the 100 meters and 200 meters the two most electric men's track races of the 2012 Olympics so far. His absence on Friday helped the U.S., Jeff Demps included, beat Jamaica in qualifying for the men's 4 x 100 meters final, and may have made his third event the megarace to top them all.
Demps led off for a U.S. team that saved Tyson Gay and Ryan Bailey, both 100 meters finalists, for the final, and helped it run the race in 37.38 seconds. Jamaica, without Bolt (for rest) and Asafa Powell (injury), made it around the track in 37.39. Both times are faster than the world record was before the Jamaicans destroyed it in Beijing, and came with just two of the five fastest men at these Olympics in it.
When the U.S. (likely without Demps, but who knows?) and Jamaica hit the track in the final on Saturday, there's a possibility that the world record, which is 37.04 seconds, could fall. And we could see the first 4 x 400 team break 37 seconds in history.
That's cool. Demps winning gold as the U.S. did it, beating Bolt? It'd be cooler.
Williams-Mills will run for medal Saturday
Jamaica qualified fourth for the women's 4 x 400 meters relay final on Saturday, meaning that Novlene Williams-Mills is in line to add another medal in the event to her two from Athens and Beijing.
The medal will almost assuredly not be gold, as the U.S. dusted all competitors in the qualifying heat without the aid of 400 meters gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, meaning that it's going to be really easy to root for a U.S.-Jamaica 1-2 in the event.
GatorZone wants you to care about Csaba Gerscak
Csaba Gerscak, who swam zero races for Florida while redshirting in 2008-09, placed 18th in the men's 10km marathon for Hungary, wrapping up the swimming efforts of Gators and former Gators who made it London.
Gerscak is so anonymous that I literally did not know whether he was male or female before looking him up, and had no idea when he was at Florida. But I suppose redshirting for a year does technically qualify him as a "Gators letterwinner" for the purposes of bragging about as many medals as possible. Padding stats is silly, but at least it's a Florida tradition.
Gator Nation Medal Count, Day 14
Total Medals: 14 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, one gold shared with Conor Dwyer; Christian Taylor: 1 gold; Abby Wambach and Heather Mitts, 1 gold shared; Elizabeth Beisel: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Will Claye: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Tony McQuay: 1 silver; Lisa Raymond: 1 bronze; Melanie Booth: 1 bronze)
Total Medals For Individual Gators: 17 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze; Conor Dwyer: 1 gold; Christian Taylor: 1 gold; Heather Mitts: 1 gold; Abby Wambach: 1 gold; Elizabeth Beisel: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Will Claye: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Tony McQuay: 1 silver; Melanie Booth: 1 bronze; Lisa Raymond: 1 bronze)
Gold Medals: 4 (Lochte, men's 400 meters IM; Taylor, men's triple jump; Wambach/Mitts, women's soccer; Lochte/Dwyer, men's 4 x 200 meters relay)
Silver Medals: 5 (Lochte, men's 4 x 100 freestyle relay and men's 200 meters IM; Beisel, women's 400 meters IM; Claye, men's triple jump; McQuay, men's 4 x 400 meters relay)
Bronze Medals: 5 (Lochte, men's 200 meters backstroke, Beisel, women's 200 meters backstroke; Claye, men's long jump; Raymond, tennis mixed doubles; Booth, women's soccer)
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Excluding Transfers: 9.7 percent (4 of 41)
Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Including Transfers: 17.1 percent (7 of 41)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Excluding Transfers: 14.9 percent (14 of 94)
Percentage of U.S. Medals, Including Transfers: 18.1 percent (17 of 94)
For the purposes of our medal count, I'm counting 34 members of Olympic teams as Gators, by the same criteria as Only Gators. GatorZone counts Gators letterwinners, including
three four who transferred to finish their collegiate careers elsewhere, meaning that Dana Vollmer is part of their stats. I'll calculate stats for both here.
If the University of Florida were its own country, it would currently be in 14th in the medal rankings, a spot ahead of Iran, and 14th in the overall Olympic medal count. The former stat ranks teams with better medals first; the latter only includes total medals.
Gator Nation no longer leads Great Britain, but has four more medals than Jamaica, two more than Brazil, and one more than Spain.