Most of the nation's attention during these Rio games has been squarely on the most dominating gymnastics squad in history, helmed by the best female gymnast in American history; the women's success in swimming (Katie Ledecky and Lilly King particularly;) as well as the most decorated Olympian of all-time dominating the swimming pool again (including the Ancient Greece Olympics -- yes, Phelps is that good.)
But, with track and field and golf gearing up, Crimson Tide athletes and alums have great chances to medal, including reigning gold medalist, Kirani James.
The University of Alabama athletics hub has a liveblog/updated Olympics section for the twelve competitors that is worth bookmarking, particularly for those into the rack and field events.
Here is the roster of Alabama athletes represented in the Games:
- Kristian Gkolomeev – 50 & 100m freestyle & relays/Swimming & Diving – Greece
- Christopher Reid – 100m backstroke & relays/Swimming & Diving - South Africa
- Abbas Qali – 100m butterfly/Swimming & Diving – Kuwait
- Anton McKee – 100 & 200m breaststroke/Swimming & Diving – Iceland
- Jack Hadjiconstantinou – 400m freestyle/Swimming & Diving – Greece
- BJ Hornikel – 100m freestyle & relays/Swimming & Diving – Germany
- Kristel Vourna – 100m butterfly/Swimming & Diving – Greece
- Kirani James - 400 Meters/Track and Field - Grenada
- Ahmed Ali - 200 Meters/Track and Field - Sudan
- Alex Amankwah - 800 Meters/Track and Field - Ghana
- Jereem Richards - 4x400-Meter relay/Track and Field - Trinidad & Tobago
- Stephanie Meadow - Golf - Ireland
A dozen past and present University of Alabama student-athletes will be competing in three different sports, including 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kirani James, who ran track for the Crimson Tide in 2010 and 2011. Alabama fans can follow the Tide in Olympic action by checking this blog throughout the Games.
The site also includes outstanding bios, schedules, and career highlights for the athletes, such as this one for alumnus Kirani James.
Two-year letterman at Alabama (2010-2011) ... defending Olympic gold medalist in the 400 meters ... the 2012 Olympic gold was the first for any athlete from Grenada ... has two wins in two finals appearances on the IAAF Diamond League circuit this season, in Eugene, Oregon and Birmingham, England ... bronze medalist in the 400 meters at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing ... gold medalist in the 400 meters at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow ... gold medalist at the 2011 IAAF World Championships in Daegu ... double gold medalist in the 200 meters and 400 meters at the 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships ... also won silver medals in the 400 meters at the Junior and Youth levels ... ran a personal-best time of 43.74 at the Diamond League meet in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 3, 2014.
- Preliminary heats: Fri, Aug. 12 at 9:00 p.m. (Rio)
- Semifinals: Sat, Aug. 13 at 8:30 p.m. (Rio)
- Finals: Sun, Aug. 14 at 10:00 p.m. (Rio)
No matter how these men and women fare in Rio, they are great ambassadors for the University and make their native nations proud as they compete in one of the most special athletic competitions on the planet. This lifetime achievement is about more than just medaling; it is the culmination of so much hard work and perserverance. Congratulations to them all, and good luck.