Husker Olympians: By the Numbers

Husker Olympians: By the Numbers

Huskers in the Olympics: By the numbers
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Husker Nation's Olympic history has spanned 106 years with 107 different athletes and eight coaches representing 29 nations. That rich Olympic history includes two women who are leaders among athletes who appear in the games, 46 medals earned, a Husker football coach’s mother, and a nine-time medal winner.

Nebraska’s Olympic history, by the numbers, includes:

First Husker — Lewis Anderson, a farm boy from Genoa, Nebraska, was the Huskers' first Olympic athlete. The middle-distance runner competed in the men’s 1,500 meter run at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden. After college, Anderson farmed on a 175-acre farm near Lincoln, raising bees, fruits and vegetables.

Husker Olympians
Video: Huskers in the Olympics

Medal count — Nebraska’s medal count stands at 46 through the 21 Olympic games that have included Husker athletes. The total includes 11 gold, 11 silver and 24 bronze. The most recent medals awarded to Nebraska athletes went to Jordan Larson, Kayla Banwarth and Kelsey Robinson, who were part of Team USA volleyball’s bronze medal-winning team in 2016.

First medalist — Keith Alvin Saint Hope Gardner, a Jamaican track and field athlete who ran under the British West Indies flag in the 1960 Summer Games in Rome, Italy, is Nebraska’s first Olympic medalist. He was a part of the British West Indies’ 1600m relay team, which earned the bronze medal.

First gold medalist — The Huskers’ first Olympic gold was earned by Charlie Greene, a sprinter who ran in the 1968 games in Mexico City. Despite an injury, Greene ran the first leg in Team USA’s 400m relay, which took the gold medal. He also earned a bronze in the 100m dash. In his career as one of the world’s fastest men, Greene collected six individual NCAA championships and set four world sprint records. Learn more about Greene.

First woman — The mother of Scott Frost, Nebraska’s new head football coach, was the first woman to represent the Huskers in the Olympics. Carol (Moeske) Frost, a track and field athlete, competed in the discus throw at the 1968 games in Mexico City. At the 1967 Pan American Games, Frost earned gold in the event. Frost would also return to Nebraska to coach the women’s track and field team from 1977 to 1980. She coached Merlene Ottey, the Huskers’ first woman to earn an Olympic medal.

Nine-time medalist — Merlene Ottey is Nebraska’s most decorated Olympian and the first Husker woman to earn a medal. Known as the “Queen of the Track,” Ottey holds the record for the most Olympic appearances (seven) of any track and field athlete. She also ran for two countries — Jamaica (1980-2001) and Slovenia (2002-2012). Known as the “Queen of the Track,” Ottey’s first medal was bronze, which she earned in the 200m dash at the 1980 games in Moscow, Russia. Overall she earned three silver and six bronze medals in the 100m and 200m dashes and 400m relay.

Most appearances — Two Husker women, sprinter Merlene Ottey and swimmer Therese Alshammar, are amongst the most prolific Olympians in terms of competing in the games. Ottey holds the record for most Olympic appearances (seven) by any track and field athlete. Her games include 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000 for Jamaica, and 2004 and 2008 for Slovenia. At 48 years of age in 2008, she failed to make her eighth Olympic games by just .28 seconds. Competing for Sweden, Alshammar is the first female swimmer to compete in six Olympic games. A winner of three Olympic medals, Alshammar competed in the 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 summer games. Her medals, all earned in the 2000 games in Sydney, include two silvers (50m freestyle and 100m freestyle) and a bronze (400m freestyle relay). Alshammar served as the flag bearer for Sweden during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Winter duo — Only two Huskers — Curt Tomasevicz and Shelley-Ann Brown — have competed in the winter Olympic games and both served as push athletes on bobsled teams. Tomasevicz, who played Husker football, is a two-time Olympic medalist who competed for Team USA in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 games. Brown, a track athlete, competed for Canada and earned a silver medal in the two-woman competition at the 2010 games in Vancouver, Canada.

Track and field tradition — Breaking down the 106 Husker athletes who have competed in the Olympic games, track and field leads the way with 43 competitors and 18 medals. Nebraska swimming is second with 22 Olympians and nine medals.

Coaching Olympians — According to the Huskers’ online records, eight Nebraska coaches have participated in Olympic games. Both Peggy Liddick (women’s gymnastics) and Jan Bidrman (swimming) have led the way by working four Olympic games from 2000 to 2012. Liddick served as head coach for Australia, while Bidrman was an assistant coach for Canada. A complete list of coaches who have led Olympians is at the end of the list of Huskers who have competed in the games.

Huskers in the Olympics

1912 Summer Games at Stockholm, Sweden

  • Lewis Anderson, Track and Field, Team USA

1936 Summer Games at Berlin, Germany

  • Sam Francis, Track and Field, Team USA

1956 Summer Games at Stockholm, Sweden

  • Keith Gardner, Track and Field, Jamaica

1960 Summer Games at Rome, Italy

  • Dan Brand, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Keith Gardner, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Joe Mullins, Track and Field, Canada

1964 Summer Games at Tokyo, Japan

  • Dan Brand, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Lynn Headley, Track and Field, Jamaica

1968 Summer Games, at Mexico City, Mexico

  • Charlie Greene, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Clifton Forbes, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Carol Frost, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Lynn Headley, Track and Field, Jamaica

1972 Summer Games at Munich, West Germany

  • Garth Case, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Horace Levy, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Leighton Priestley, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Donald Quarrie, Track and Field, Jamaica

1976 Summer Games at Montreal, Canada

  • John Ebito, Swimming, Nigeria
  • Bengt Jonsson, Swimming, Sweden
  • Leighton Priestley, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Donald Quarrie, Track and Field, Jamaica

1980 Summer Games at Moscow, Russia

  • Phil Cahoy, Gymnastics, Team USA (boycott)
  • Reynaldo Castro, Swimming, Dominican Republic
  • John Ebito, Swimming, Nigeria
  • Larry Gerard, Gymnastics, Team USA (boycott)
  • Jim Hartung, Gymnastics, Team USA (boycott)
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Donald Quarrie, Track and Field, Jamaica

1984 Summer Games at Los Angeles

  • Janet Burke, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Reynaldo Castro, Swimming, Dominican Republic
  • Jim Hartung, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Scott Johnson, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Jim Mikus, Gymnastics, Team USA (alternate)
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Donald Quarrie, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Marcia Tate, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Angela Thacker, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Dennis Wallace, Track and Field, Jamaica

1988 Summer Games at Seoul, South Korea

  • Kevin Davis, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Scott Johnson, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Wendy Lucero, Swimming, Team USA
  • Cathy Noth, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Sharon Powell, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Bill Scherr, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Jim Scherr, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Tom Schlesinger, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Wes Suter, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Marcia Tate, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Denise Thiemard, Track and Field, Switzerland
  • Bill Trott, Track and Field, Bermuda

1992 Summer Games at Barcelona, Spain

  • Jan Bidrman, Swimming, Sweden
  • Robert Bonilla, Swimming, Guatemala
  • Anja Margetic, Swimming, Bosnia
  • Trent Dimas, Gymnastics, Team USA
  • Lori Endicott, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Penny Heyns, Swimming, South Africa
  • Mark Jackson, Track and Field, Canada
  • Karen Kruger, Track and Field, South Africa
  • Tamas Molnar, Track and Field, Hungary
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Ximena Restrepo, Track and Field, Colombia
  • Peter Williams, Swimming, South Africa

1996 Summer Games at Atlanta

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Juan Benavides, Swimming, Spain
  • Robert Bonilla, Swimming, Guatemala
  • Lori Endicott, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Penny Heyns, Swimming, South Africa
  • Jose Isaza, Swimming, Panama
  • Emma Johnson, Swimming, Australia
  • Valery Kalmikovs, Swimming, Latvia
  • Dieudonne Kwizera, Track and Field, Berundi
  • Lenka Manhalova, Swimming, Czech Republic
  • Nicola Martial, Track and Field, Guyana
  • Frank Mensah, Track and Field, Ghana
  • Terrie Miller, Swimming, Norway
  • Helene Muller, Swimming, South Africa
  • Patricia Nadler, Track and Field, Switzerland
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Julia Russell, Swimming, South Africa
  • Lori Sippel, Softball, Canada
  • Balazs Tolgyesi, Track and Field, Hungary
  • Linetta Wilson, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Anna Windsor, Swimming, Australia

2000 Summer Games at Sydney, Australia

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Juan Benavides, Swimming, Spain
  • Javier Botello, Swimming, Spain
  • Rulon Gardner, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Elvira Fischer, Swimming, Austria
  • Penny Heyns, Swimming, South Africa
  • Valery Kalmikovs, Swimming, Latvia
  • Matt Lindland, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Helene Muller, Swimming, South Africa
  • Jimmy Pino, Track and Field, Colombia
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Jamaica
  • Adam Pine, Swimming, Australia
  • Ximena Restrepo, Track and Field, Colombia
  • Jelena Stanisavljevic, Track and Field, Yugoslavia
  • Allison Weston, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Michael Windisch, Swimming, Austria

2004 Summer Games at Athens, Greece

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Rulon Gardner, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Stephanie Skegas, Softball, Greece
  • Sheena Lawrick, Softball, Canada
  • Nenad Loncar, Track and Field, Serbia and Montenegro
  • Priscilla Lopes, Track and Field, Canada
  • Nancy Metcalf, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Dimitrijs Milkevics, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Merlene Ottey, Track and Field, Slovenia
  • Adam Pine, Swimming, Australia
  • Ineta Radevica, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Dace Ruskule, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Adam Stern, Baseball, Canada
  • Brad Vering, Wrestling, Team USA

2006 Winter Games at Turin, Italy

  • Curt Tomasevicz, Bobsled, Team USA

2008 Summer Games at Beijing, China

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Brian Duensing, Baseball, Team USA
  • Gyorgyi Farkas, Track and Field, Hungary
  • Dusty Jonas, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Sheena Lawrick, Softball, Canada
  • Karina LeBlanc, Soccer, Canada
  • Priscilla Lopes, Track and Field, Canada
  • Robin Mackin, Softball, Canada
  • Dimitrijs Milkevics, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Amber Neben (Parkinson), Cycling, Team USA
  • Adam Pine, Swimming, Australia
  • Ineta Radevica, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Adam Stern, Baseball, Canada
  • Brittany Timko, Soccer, Canada
  • Amy Walsh, Soccer, Canada
  • Brad Vering, Wrestling, Team USA

2010 Winter Games at Vancouver, Canada

  • Shelley-Ann Brown, Bobsled, Canada
  • Curt Tomasevicz, Bobsled, Team USA

2012 Summer Games at London, United Kingdom

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Chelsea Aubry, Basketball, Canada
  • Ade Dagunduro, Basketball, Nigeria
  • Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Gyorgyi Farkas, Track and Field, Hungary
  • Lehann Fourie, Track and Field, South Africa
  • Jordan Larson, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Karina LeBlanc, Soccer, Canada
  • Aleks Maric, Basketball, Australia
  • Chante McMillan, Track and Field, Team USA
  • Carl Myerscough, Track and Field, Great Britain
  • Amber Neben (Parkinson), Cycling, Team USA
  • Ineta Radevica, Track and Field, Latvia
  • Brittany Timko, Soccer, Canada

2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia

  • Curt Tomasevicz, Bobsled, Team USA

2016 Summer Games at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Therese Alshammar, Swimming, Sweden
  • Kayla Banwarth, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Jordan Burroughs, Wrestling, Team USA
  • Marusa Cernjul, Track and Field, Slovenia
  • Gyorgyi Farkas, Track and Field, Hungary
  • Jordan Larson, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Danielle Page, Basketball, Serbia
  • Sarah Pavan, Volleyball, Canada
  • Kelsey Robinson, Volleyball, Team USA
  • Miles Ukaoma, Track and Field, Nigeria

Coaches

  • Francis Allen, Men's Gymnastics, 1980, 1982, head coach, Team USA
  • John Cook, Volleyball, 1992, assistant coach, Team USA
  • Jan Bidrman, Swimming, 1996, head coach, South Africa
  • Peggy Liddick, Women's Gymnastics, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, head coach, Australia
  • Jan Bidrman, Swimming, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, assistant coach, Canada
  • Lori Sippel, Softball, 2008, head coach, Canada
  • Mark Manning, Wrestling, 2012, 2016, assistant coach, Team USA
  • Ashley MacAllister, Rifle, 2016, head coach, Puerto Rico