TBT: Buckeyes in the Olympics

August 18, 2016

When it comes to men's gymnasts at Ohio State, it doesn't get much bigger than Blaine Wilson.

A Columbus native, Wilson was a superstar gymnast for the Scarlet and Gray from 1994 to 1997, claiming six individual NCAA titles including the all-around championship in 1996 and 1997. A three-time Big Ten Gymnast of the year award winner, he also won seven conference titles and was the 1997 Nissen-Emery Award winner, presented annually to the most outstanding senior collegiate gymnast. He has also served as a volunteer assistant coach and full-time coach here at Ohio State.

Wilson has had an incredible amount of success outside of Ohio State as well. Most notably he earned a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games as the United States took silver in the team gymnastics competition. He was also a member of the 1996 and 2000 teams, both of which placed fifth.

On that silver medal-winning squad, Wilson participated in the rings and parallel bars during the finals, with his rings score besting everyone else on the team.

Competing for Team USA, Wilson won five consecutive national all-around titles from 1996-2000, and he was the top competitor at the 1996 Olympic Trials. He has also won five national titles on rings.

August 11, 2016

A Logan, Ohio native, Katie Smith didn't wait long to mark her mark on the OSU women's basketball program. Smith led the Buckeyes to their only Final Four appearance and a national runner-up finish as a freshman in 1993. She was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and was a Kodak All-American.

In 1996, her finest and final season, Smith tallied an OSU single-season record 745 points on the way to becoming the Big Ten women's career scoring leader with 2,578 points - a mark that stood until 2004. Smith dominated the opposition, with 20 or more points in 22-of-34 games, averaged 5.1 rebounds per game and led the team with 145 assists and 46 steals.

The Buckeyes were 80-44 (.645) over her four-year stay and 124 consecutive starts. Along the way, Smith literally rewrote the Ohio State record book, amassing an amazing 10 career, six single-season and six single-game records.

Smith went on to win a total of 14 gold medals with Team USA, including three Olympic golds in 2000, 2004 and 2008. She played 197 games in her career for Team USA and scored 1,535 points, more than any other player in history.

The 5-foot-11 shooting guard played 14 years in the WNBA. Smith led the league in scoring in 2001, when she averaged 23.1 points per game and won a pair titles with Detroit in 2006 and 2008. She finished her career as the leading scorer in women's professional basketball history.

This past year, Smith was named to the WNBA's 20 greatest and most influential players in its history.

Michael Redd served as captain during the 1999-00 season. Redd was named the Ohio State team MVP his rookie season (1998-99) and was co-MVP as both a sophomore and junior.

The Columbus native came on the scene at Ohio State and wasted no time making his presence felt, as he lead the Big Ten in scoring at 21.9 points per game en route to First Team all-conference honors. Redd is one of only three players all-time to score more than 500 points in a single season three times and led the Buckeyes in scoring all three of his seasons.

He went on to be drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft, which led to a 12-year NBA career and selection to USA Basketball's 2008 Olympic team. Selected to be part of the "Redeem Team" for his ability to knock down jumpers from the outside, Redd made five three-pointers in limited action. The United States won all eight games they played by a combined 225 points to win their first gold since the 200 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

August 4, 2016

Throughout the storied history of Ohio State athletics, Jesse Owens is the one name that stands out among all past greats, no matter the sport. His unparalleled accomplishments on the track, captivating charm and tireless efforts on behalf of young people made him a legend around the world.

Owens' athletics career began in junior high school in Cleveland, Ohio, where he set national records in both the high jump and the broad jump. At East Tech High School, Owens set scholastic world records in the 220-yard dash and the broad jump and tied a world record in the 100-yard dash.

In the fall of 1933, Owens enrolled at The Ohio State University. Under the tutelage of Buckeye track coach Larry Snyder, Owens rose to international prominence during his sophomore season. He recorded world indoor records in both the 60-meter dash and 60-yard dash and compiled 45 first-place, five second-place and four third-place finishes that season.

The year 1936 could simply be termed the year of Jesse Owens. The premier track athlete in the world, Owens was undefeated in 42 events for Ohio State that season. He won four titles at the Western Conference Championships, four at the NCAA Championships, two at the N.A.A.U. Championships and three at the Olympic Trials.

The defining moment of Owens' career came in the 1936 Olympics in Nazi-controlled Berlin, Germany. Owens shattered Hitler's myth of Aryan superiority by winning gold medals in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash, broad jump and as a member of the United States 4x100-meter relay team.

In 1950, the Associated Press named Owens its Track Athlete of the First Half-Century. In 1955, the State Department named him America's "Ambassador of Sports." Owens toured the world, meeting with government and sports officials and promoting the virtues of amateur sports programs. In 1976, President Gerald Ford presented Owens with the nation's highest civilian honor, the United States Medal of Freedom.

Owens continued to serve his country and amateur sports until his death on March 31, 1980. He is survived by his three daughters, Gloria, Beverly and Marlene. His wife, Ruth, passed away in 2001.

July 28, 2016

Jason Rogers was a four-time All-American in men's sabre from 2002-06. A three-time Academic All-Big Ten and four-time OSU Scholar-Athlete, Rogers helped guide the Buckeyes to the 2004 NCAA title. Rogers was named a first team Academic All-American in 2005 and 2006 after being named second team honors in 2003. Rogers also received the Big Ten Medal of Honor. He placed third at the NCAA national championships, giving him All-America honors after posting an overall record of 15-5 during the regular season in 2006. Rogers posted a career record of 87-8 in dual meet action and finished fifth or better at the NCAA championships each of his four years. Rogers was a member of the 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic Teams and won a silver medal in men's sabre in Beijing.

Hanna Thompson was a four-time All-American in women's foil from 2002-2005 and helped the Buckeyes capture the 2004 NCAA title. She earned third place individually at the NCAA championships in 2002 and 2004 and helped the Buckeyes capture four-consecutive Midwest championship titles. Thompson was a member of the 2008 U.S. Women's foil team, which won the silver medal in Beijing.

July 21, 2016

The 1988 Summer Games in Seoul featured two of the most dominant track athletes in Ohio State history, Diane Dixon and Butch Reynolds.

Dixon was a member of the Ohio State women's track and field team for the 1983 season. Over the course of one season, she managed to set a host of Ohio State records along with becoming the first female in Ohio State history to win an individual national championship.

In the Olympics, Dixon brought home a silver medal in the 4x400 meter relay, being edged out by a world record performance from the Soviet Union.

Reynolds was a member of the Ohio State men's track and field team for the 1986 and '87 seasons. The latter was a banner year for the Akron native as he was named an All-American and took home the NCAA championship in the 400-meter dash.

Reynolds' time of 44.10 in the 400 meter dash is still an Ohio State record and ranks on the NCAA all-time Top-10 in the event.

In the Seoul Games, Reynolds teamed up with Danny Everett, Steve Lewis and Kevin Robinzine to take the gold medal in the 4x400 meter relay by over four seconds. In the 400 meter dash, he finished behind relay teammate Lewis for the silver medal.

July 14, 2016

Karen and Sarah Josephson were perhaps the most dominant sister duo in US Synchronized Swimming history. The identical twins from Bristol, Conn., began swimming at the age of five and won their first international title as members of the 1980 US Junior National Team.

They then enrolled at Ohio State in 1982 and dominated the competition. The Josephsons were part of 14 national titles over their four years with the Buckeyes and never lost a duet competition. Both were four-time All-Americans and graduated with honors in 1985.

Next up were the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea. For two years, the Josephsons battled Canada's Michele Cameron and Hall of Famer Carolyn Waldo in international competitions. The twins were never able to get the upper hand over the two years and it culminated with a silver medal in 1988.

After taking just a month off, the two returned to the pool with a renewed focus. During the four years between Seoul and the 1992 Barcelona Games, they never lost a competition. That included the Pan Pacifics, Goodwill Games, US Nationals, Olympic Festivals, The German, Mallorca and Rome Opens, the US Olympic Trials, and the Perth world Championships where they set the world record for the highest total duet score.

In Barcelona, they lived up to their own and other's expectations, winning the US's second gold medal in the duet event. They received four perfect marks for technical merit and four more 10s for artistic impression. Their five-minute routine earned a total score of 99.600 points, and the victory marked the duo's 16th consecutive championship--a record in the sport's history.

Karen and Sarah retired from competition following the 1992 Olympic Games and became only the second synchronized swimming duet team to be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.