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Gator Nation Is At The 2012 Olympics, Day 11: Christian Taylor, Shara Proctor Set Up For Medals


Gators jump to front of pack

Christian Taylor and Shara Proctor may be competing for different teams in London (Taylor's an American; the British Proctor's on Team GB), but both former Gators are looking like great shots to add to the UF medal count.

Taylor required one jump to qualify first at 17.21 meters for the semifinals of the men's triple jump on Tuesday. Proctor matched his feat by qualifying first for the women's long jump on her first attempt with a jump of 6.82 meters. The efforts re-establish Taylor and may establish Proctor as the favorites to capture gold in their respective events.

Taylor's been the gold medal favorite since he won the triple jump at the 2011 World Championships, and he's far and away the best U.S. jumper, having taken all of one attempt to post the best jump at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

But Proctor, who placed third at the 2012 World Indoor Championships, her best-ever showing at an international meet, is peaking at the right time, and might stand a chance of beating Americans Brittney Reese and Janay DeLoach in Wednesday's final. DeLoach, the 2011 World Championships silver medalist, qualified second to Proctor, but Reese was sixth. And American Chelsea Hayes, who jumped 7.10 meters to make the U.S. team, didn't qualify for the finals.

Proctor adds another corollary to the Gemma Spofforth Conundrum, and maybe the best one: If she's in first and the final comes down to a last jump by Reese or DeLoach, I suspect some Gators will be rooting for a tie.

Will Claye will join Taylor in the triple jump final, and is looking to add to his long jump bronze from this past weekend. His jump of 16.87 meters was the seventh-best mark in qualifying.

Abby Wambach is smarter than you, too

There's been a fair amount of griping on the Internet about Monday's epic semifinal between the U.S. women's national soccer team and Canada's, and specifically about the officiating, which some have seen as pro-American. If it was, especially on the rare call of time-wasting on Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod that led to an Abby Wambach goal, there was a reason for that: Wambach asked the referee to enforce the rules of the game.

During the second half, with the U.S. frantically trying to speed up the game while attempting multiple comebacks, Wambach began running near referee Christiana Pedersen and counting off the seconds that McLeod held the ball. She said she often got to 10 and into even the teens.

"I wasn't yelling. I was just counting," Wambach revealed Tuesday during an interview at the team hotel. "Probably did it five to seven times."

The last time came in the 78th minute, with Canada trying to milk a 3-2 lead. McLeod made a save, and Wambach began counting again.

"I got to 10 seconds right next to the referee, and at 10 seconds she blew the whistle," Wambach said.

To be clear: The call is rare, but the rule is something that anyone who's ever played goalkeeper (as I did for a few years in my rec soccer-playing athletic prime) is familiar with. Keepers are supposed to get rid of the ball within six seconds of possessing it, and anything else is a delay.

Enforcement for it is usually no more than an admonishment — I was personally never warned about it, partially because I threw the ball out 90 percent of the time, looking for quick counterattacks and/or looking to get the ball the hell away from my net — but, as with many decisions in soccer, that's ultimately a judgment call by the ref.

Wambach played pitch attorney and won her case by presenting compelling evidence in a manner that was persuasive. More players, in all sports, should know how to do that.

Gator Nation Medal Count, Day 11

Total Medals: 9 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, one gold shared with Conor Dwyer; Elizabeth Beisel: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Will Claye: 1 bronze; Lisa Raymond, 1 bronze)

Total Medals For Individual Gators: 9 (Ryan Lochte: 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze; Conor Dwyer: 1 gold; Elizabeth Beisel: 1 silver, 1 bronze; Will Claye: 1 bronze; Lisa Raymond, 1 bronze)

Gold Medals: 2 (Lochte, men's 400 meters IM, and Lochte/Dwyer, men's 4 x 200 meters relay)

Silver Medals: 3 (Lochte, men's 4 x 100 meters relay and men's 200 meters IM ; Beisel, women's 400 meters IM)

Bronze Medals: 4 (Lochte, men's 200 meters backstroke, Beisel, women's 200 meters backstroke; Claye, men's long jump; Raymond, tennis mixed doubles)

Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Excluding Transfers: 6.7 percent (2 of 30)

Percentage of U.S. Gold Medals, Including Transfers: 16.7 percent (5 of 30)

Percentage of U.S. Medals, Excluding Transfers: 12.9 percent (9 of 70)

Percentage of U.S. Medals, Including Transfers: 17.1 percent (12 of 70)

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 who transferred and finished 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 23rd in the medal rankings, a spot ahead of Brazil, and tied for 17th with Iran, Belarus, Denmark, Brazil, and Poland 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 still has twice as many medals as Jamaica. Fast don't count for everything.