Multiple Utes Medal as USA Thrives in Tokyo Olympics


Mykayla Skinner flashes the U during her balance beam routine as the University of Utah Red Rocks take on the Georgia Bulldogs in their final match of the regular season at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, March 16, 2018. (Photo by Adam Fondren | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Editor


After the first week of competition, the United States of America led the Olympics in the total medal count with 41 medals. That total rose to 64 on Aug. 2, with China not far behind at 62. Notably, China also leads the gold medal count at 29, with the USA just behind at 22.

As the U.S. remains atop the medal count, the Pac-12 has played a major role in Team USA’s success, accounting for 39 total medals. Here’s a look at some of the top performances from the Pac-12 and beyond.


MyKayla Skinner

At 24 years old, Skinner was feeling the pressure to win her first Olympic medal. She is currently the oldest member of Team USA’s gymnastics team, and it is unknown if she will be able to compete in the next Olympic games.

Skinner fell just short of making the Team USA gymnastics roster but qualified as an individual. She replaced Simone Biles in the 8-woman vault final and won the silver medal, becoming just the fifth American to medal on the vault.

Skinner has played a huge role for the Red Rocks and this medal solidifies her legacy with Utah.

Grace McCallum

McCallum thought her Olympic dreams were over when she suffered a boxer’s fracture just five months before the Olympic trials began. McCallum underwent surgery and had a plate inserted — from then on she was focused on rehab. But the effort was more than worth it as she was able to secure a spot on Team USA.

Skinner and McCallum are the only Utes to win a medal so far at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. While Skinner won her medal as an individual on the vault, McCallum competed as a part of the four-person Team USA squad. The team finished second, just behind the Russian Olympic Committee.

As an incoming freshman to Utah, she will have more than enough experience to help the Red Rocks strive for the NCAA title.

Other Top Performances

Katie Ledecky

Ledecky is undoubtedly an Olympic icon, winning 10 medals throughout three Olympic games, her first gold coming at the young age of 15. Her versatility between swimming short distance and long distance is unlike any other. She took gold in the 1500m and 800m freestyle, and silver in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay in Tokyo.

“She is hands down the best female swimmer that we’ve ever seen,” said Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time.

Ledecky currently holds world records in the 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 1500m freestyle, along with numerous American and NCAA records. She doesn’t just hold those records; she has broken her own previous world records.

With her time at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics over, she has cemented herself as an all-time great.

Caeleb Dressel

Dressel is America’s next dominant male swimmer, taking home five gold medals from Tokyo. Dressel won in the 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, and the 50m freestyle.

He became just the third American male swimmers to win three or more individual gold medals at one of the Olympic games, joining Mark Spitz and Phelps. He also became the fifth American to collect five gold medals in a single Olympics, joining Spitz, Phelps, Eric Heiden, and Matt Biondi.

Not many people have the honor of saying that they can be the next Phelps, but Dressel may be the next one up.


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