Texas Won The Olympics
After a little gymnastics of our own, we can comfortably say that the Lone Star State dominated the Rio Olympics.
With the exception of a very isolated incident involving a gas station, a few U.S. swimmers, and, uh, urine, the Rio Olympics was very good to athletes representing Texas. Let’s use the Dallas Morning News‘ handy-dandy Texan medal tracker to take stock of just how great we are at sports.
Gymnast Simone Biles, of Spring, was the star of the show, winning four gold medals and one bronze, and easily living up to the “best gymnast ever” hype. The nineteen-year-old Biles was even chosen to carry the American flag during Sunday’s closing ceremony. She’s only four-foot-eight-inches tall, and expressed some concern beforehand about the size of the flag—at nine feet long, it’s nearly twice as tall as she is—but Biles did just fine, because she’s from Texas. Fellow gymnast Madison Kocian, from Dallas, took home a gold and a silver medal too.
Texas did some major work in the water. Sugarland’s Simone Manuel won two golds and two silvers, winning the 100-meter freestyle to become the first African-American woman to win an individual medal in swimming. Manuel is so Texas that the first thing she wanted when she got back to the states was Shipley Do-Nuts, according to the Houston Chronicle. Fort Worth’s Katie Meili and Granbury’s Dana Vollmer both won a gold as part of the 4×100-meter medley relay team, and Meili also won a bronze in the 100-meter breaststroke, while Vollmer won silver in the 4×100 freestyle relay and took home a bronze for her performance in the 100-meter butterfly. Abilene native David Boudia won a silver and bronze in 10-meter diving events.
The University of Texas had a particularly good time in the pool. Current Longhorn swimmers Clark Smith, Jack Conger, and Townley Haas earned a gold medal each for their role in the 4×200 freestyle relay, and Texas grad Jimmy Feigen won gold with the 4×100 freestyle relay team. Joseph Schooling, who also swims for UT, beat Michael Phelps to win gold for Singapore in the 100-meter butterfly (sorry, Singapore, but we’re claiming him).
A few of the aforementioned University of Texas swimmers had a not-so-good time outside of the pool, however. Feigen and Conger got caught up in #LochteGate, a web of lies spun by the group’s silver-haired troublemaker-in-chief, Ryan Lochte (not a Texan). Basically, they said they were robbed at gun point, when, in reality, they were involved in an altercation at a gas station, in which they trashed the placed, peed a bit, then left. Brazilian authorities quickly caught on, but by that time Lochte had already booked it back to the U.S., leaving Conger, Feigen, and Gunnar Bentz to mop up the mess. Thankfully, they were all let off the hook by the police and allowed to return home, but Brazilians jeered on their way out.
Perhaps worst of all, the group made Al Roker very upset:
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) August 20, 2016
Texans also took care of business in track and field events. Michelle Carter and Ryan Crouser, both University of Texas grads, took home gold in the women’s and men’s shot put. Carter became the first American woman to win gold in the the event, while Crouser set an Olympic record with a 22.52 meter throw. Kerron Clement, who grew up in La Porte, won gold in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. Phyllis Francis, a College Station resident, won gold in the 4×400 relay, along with Carrollton’s Courtney Okolo.
Five other athletes with connections to Texas colleges (UT, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech) were medal winners in Rio. Were they all competing for the U.S.? No. Are we going to count them in Texas’s medal haul anyway? Absolutely.
Some familiar Texan faces helped the U.S. dominate the men’s and women’s basketball competitions, with Houston natives Jimmy Butler and Deandre Jordan helping former UT star Kevin Durant win gold (Harrison Barnes, a new addition to the Dallas Mavericks, played a bit as well). Houstonian Brittney Griner and Duncanville High School grad Tamika Catchings won gold with the women’s team, while recent San Antonio Spur signee Pau Gasol led Spain to a bronze medal.
Texas fared pretty well in some of the lower-profile events, too. Wylie High School grad Jackie Galloway won bronze in the women’s heavyweight taekwondo competition, while weightlifter Sarah Robles, who lives in Clear Lake, earned a bronze in the women’s super heavyweight class. Janine Beckie, a Texas Tech grad who plays for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League, won a bronze medal with the Canadian women’s soccer team.
Now onto the big picture. Texas’s total medal count, including athletes who are full-blooded, barbecue-eatin’, Lone Star-chuggin’ Texans as well as those who maybe weren’t born here, per se, but are still Texan by association: 43 total medals, 28 of them gold. Not bad. Not bad at all. That would give us fifth place in the international medal count if we were our own country. We beat out Germany, France, and Japan—and have more medals than Brazil, Spain, Mexico, and Nigeria combined. If you only count Texas’s athletes who competed for the U.S., then Texas accounted for almost a third of America’s 121 medals.
Where Texas stands compared to other U.S. states is less clear. Remember, this is not an exact science: state-by-state medal counts are hard to come by, and there’s not one single agreed upon standard when it comes to determining which states have claim to certain athletes. Where were they born? Where did they grow up? Where did they go to high school and college? Where do they currently live and train? If the answer to any of those questions is “Texas,” then we’re unofficially/officially making that athlete ours. Like we said, it’s not an exact science, and we’re admittedly making it inexact enough to give Texas all the credit we can get.
With that in mind, our only real competition is California. By some counts, California sent 100 more athletes to the Olympics than any other state, and some lists say Cali won as many as 50 medals in Rio. Yikes.
Wait a minute. We should probably subtract, like, five medals from the Golden State, just because. Think of it as a tax, Californians. And California should really lose another five medals, too. You know, “strict regulations,” or whatever. That brings their total down to a respectable three medals less than Texas.
So after a little gymnastics of our own (hey, we learned from the best), we can proudly claim, with absolute certainty, that Texas won the Olympics.