After a fantastic first week in the Rio 2016 Olympics, three LDS Olympians won medals in their events. At the conclusion of the Olympics, 2 more LDS Olympians won medals in Rio.
Sami Hill: Gold Medal in Women’s Water Polo, USA
Sami Hill, who is a 24-year-old UCLA graduate, is one of the U.S. women’s water polo goalies. After beating Hungary, China, and Spain, Team USA beat Brazil in the quarterfinals (13-3) and Hungary again (14-10) in the semifinals.
With only one game between them and the gold medal, the U.S. women’s water polo team competed against Italy in the finals on Friday, August 19. With a decisive victory (12-5), Sami Hill and Team USA won the gold medal. For the first time in Olympic water polo history, the U.S. won back-to-back gold medals from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016.
Taylor Sander: Men’s Volleyball, USA
After a disappointing loss to Italy in the semifinals, Taylor Sander and Team USA competed in a bronze medal showdown with Russia for the bronze in men’s volleyball. The U.S. men’s volleyball team lost to Italy (3-1) in a preliminary match, and continued on to defeat Brazil, France, Mexico, and Poland to make it to the semifinals against Italy. Following five sets of intense competition, Team USA failed to beat Italy once again, and competed in the finals Sunday, August 21, to fight for bronze.
In another nail-biting match, Team USA pulled ahead in the fifth set to beat Italy (3-2) for the bronze medal. In the gold medal match, Italy lost to host country Brazil to win silver.
Other Mormon Olympian Updates
Bruna Soares: Women’s Soccer/Football, Brazil
Bruna Soares, who plays women’s soccer for Brazil, faced defeat against Canada in the bronze medal match. After a series of ties in the preliminaries matches, Brazil failed to qualify for the gold medal match against Germany when they tied Sweden (0-0) in the semifinals and lost in a penalty shootout. However, they had a chance for the bronze medal against Canada.
On Friday, August 19, Brazil fought against Canada for the bronze medal, but ultimately came up short and lost (2-1) to place fourth in the tournament. While the Brazilian women’s soccer team faced disappointment in the finals, Brazil’s men’s soccer won gold against Germany in their home country.
John Nunn: 50km Race Walk, USA
After two weeks of training in Rio, race walker John Nunn competed in the men’s 50km walk on Friday, August 19. He completed the race in 43rd place with a time of 4:16:12, not even a minute after gold medalist Matej Tóth from Slovakia. Nunn enjoyed his time in Rio, documenting his travels and adventures on Twitter.
Jared Ward: Men’s Marathon, USA
Like John Nunn, marathon runner Jared Ward trained for two weeks in Rio prior to his event. On the last morning of the Rio 2016 Olympics, Ward ran a marathon course through Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to finish in 6th place with a personal record of 2:11:30. He and the other marathon runners battled through rain, heat, and 90 percent humidity to finish the race in just over two hours.
Ward, who was roommates with Jared Nunn in the Olympic Village, also shared his experiences in Rio on social media.
Starting on September 7, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will feature other LDS athletes. Find more information about LDS Paralympians on LDS.net.