LONDON SUMMER 2012

Athletes with local ties have a solid showing of medals

2012-08-13T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:13:25Z Athletes with local ties have a solid showing of medalsPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
August 13, 2012 12:00 am  • 

The 23 Olympic athletes with Southern Arizona ties produced nine medals by the time closing ceremonies ended the London Games on Sunday.

Do you know how impressive that is?

Only 26 countries in the games totaled more than nine.

The nine medals were more than athletes from Sweden, Colombia or Mexico.

It topped Belgium, Finland and Greece - combined. Medal count isn't what we'll remember from the games, though.

Sahuaro High School graduate Caitlin Leverenz charmed hosts on the "Today" show, then became the eighth native Tucsonan to win a medal at the Summer Games. Arizona Wildcats senior Brigetta Barrett, after earning a high-jump silver, clutched the American flag and saluted her mother, who has breast cancer.

And Matt Grevers, who trains here with Ford Aquatics, brought home two golds and a silver.

The 2012 Olympics might have been the last for shot putter Jill Camarena-Williams, whose balky back betrayed her, and Abdi Abdirahman, who could not finish Sunday's marathon.

And it might be the first of many for hurdling sensation Georganne Moline, Canadian shot putter Julie Labonté, and for Barrett, a contender to one day break the world record.

With the games over, here's a look at our favorite local performers.

Best in show

Matt Grevers

The Tucson-trained Grevers set an Olympic record - and inched former UA swimmer Nick Thoman, who now trains in North Carolina - with a 52.16-second 100-meter backstroke. He claimed gold in the 4x100 medley relay, and earned a silver for swimming the preliminary round of the 4x100 freestyle relay.

Best actress

Brigetta Barrett

The UA theater major jumped 6 feet, 8 inches - improving her personal best by an inch and becoming the highest mark, ever, by someone in college - to claim silver on Saturday. Barrett, who has starred in plays on the UA campus, sang full-throated between each jump. The high-jump medal was the first by a UA track athlete in 20 years.

Best executive producer

Caitlin Leverenz

The Sahuaro High School graduate and Cal senior took the bronze medal in the 200 individual medley and appeared as a face of the young U.S. team on NBC's "Today" show. Another big deal: She was listed as "executive producer" of the swim team's lip-syncing of "Call Me Maybe," which garnered more than 6 million YouTube hits.

Best supporting actress

Alyssa Anderson

A 16-time All-American when she swam at the UA, Anderson helped the American 4x200 relay team win the gold. She swam the third leg of a preliminary heat.

Best breakthrough performance

Georganne Moline

The UA senior set a personal best in the 400-meter hurdles - and it almost earned her a medal. Her time of 53.92 in the finals was good for fifth, about a half-second off the bronze.

Best original score

Andre Iguodala

It's been a busy week for the former Wildcats basketball player, who on Friday was traded from Philadelphia to Denver. The small forward won a gold medal Sunday despite playing only two minutes.

Lifetime achievement award

Abdi Abdirahman

The "Black Cactus" was unable to finish Sunday's marathon, his fourth appearance in the Olympics. The 35-year-old Tucson High School, Pima College and UA graduate left the course with a right-knee injury about 11 miles into the race.

Best visual effects

Bernard Lagat

Lagat, a Tucson resident for the past six years, finished fourth in Saturday's 5,000 meters. The 37-year-old, a four-time Olympian was tripped in the final 100 meters and finished fourth, .63 of a second off the bronze medal mark.

On StarNet: Photos from the Closing Ceremony at azstarnet.com/gallery

Local medals

Here's a look at the medal count from the 23 athletes with Southern Arizona ties who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games:

Gold - 5

• Alyssa Anderson (former Arizona Wildcat) - 4x200 freestyle relay (swam in prelims only)

• Matt Grevers (Ford Aquatics) - 100 backstroke and 4x100 medley relay

• Andre Iguodala (former Arizona Wildcat) - men's basketball.

• Nick Thoman (former Arizona Wildcat) - 4x100 medley relay (swam in prelims only)

Silver - 3

• Brigetta Barrett (current Arizona Wildcat) - high jump

• Grevers - 4x100 freestyle relay

• Nick Thoman - 100 backstroke

Bronze - 1

• Caitlin Leverenz (Sahuaro High School), 200 individual medley

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