College Athletes at 2020 Olympic Games

College Athletes at 2020 Olympic Games

The Olympics 2020 have been history for quite some time now and will go down as one of the most successful Olympic games for NCAA athletes. History was made, world records were broken, and new stars were born. With a staggering amount of 124 medals, current or former NCAA athletes collected more medals than any other country at the 2020 Olympics.

In total, they collected 41 gold medals, 41 silver medals and 42 bronze medals. Doesn’t sound too bad right?

Again, this shows the athletic level in college and that every athlete may want to consider college sports as a viable stepping stone for a professional sports career. Whether it is gymnastics, track and field or swimming, college athletes competed in nearly every sport at the Olympics.

Top 5 “college-related” facts about the Olympic Games:

  • More than 1,000 current and former NCAA student-athletes participated at the Olympics
  • About 75 percent of the U.S. Olympic team competed in college
  • More than 100 countries sent college athletes to the Olympics
  • 65 former or current athletes have been competing for USC (University of Southern California) at the Olympic Games. More athletes than any other university in the U.S. and more athletes than 162 countries sent to the Olympic games
  • Stanford won the most medals for the second Olympics in a row

Stanford wins again:

Stanford being the most successful school, translates into claiming a total of 26 medals with 10 of them in gold. USC just came short with 21 medals and the Florida Gators won 17 medals, equaling the second-highest total for them. If Stanford were to count as a country, it would be the eleventh-best country regarding Olympic medal count. 

Olympic Heroes

Former Student Athlete - Caeleb Dressel

Six different events, 12 total swims, record-breaking times and five gold medals:

  • 4x100m free - relay
  • 100m free
  • 100m fly
  • 50m free
  • 4x100m medley - relay

The 24-year-old capped off the Games in phenomenal fashion. The Florida Alumnus won the most medals for the United States and the most as an individual for the Gators ever:

“I can be proud of every swim, every effort I put in the water, every mental approach to every single race,” Dressel says. “I was nervous before races. Every race was not perfect.”

Very humble for someone who just won five golden medals and who is called the next Michael Phelps. To see the full interview of Caeleb Dressel check it out here.


Current Student Athlete - Sunisa Lee

After Simone Biles stepped back from the gymnastics all-around, hopes for a gold medal were shattered. But not for Sunisa Lee. The Chinese native performed an astonishing performance and secured her first gold medal, with being just 18 years old. While others are busy finding the right college, graduating from high-school or partying, Sunisa won three medals at the 2020 Olympic Games before even becoming a student athlete. She even tied the record for the highest points at the uneven bars.

Sunisa Lee is now a student at the University of Auburn and without doubt, she'll contribute a “fair bit” to the team's success going forward ... 


College sports as a stepping stone?

The 2020 Olympic Games proved again how high the collegiate level is and that college athletes can compete with everyone in the world. After seeing world records being broken by current or former college athletes the answer to this question is obvious. Colleges create a perfect environment for athletes. They receive professional training, personal fitness coaches and nutritionists to perform to the best of their abilities. Without colleges and available scholarships for exceptional athletes, most of them could not afford what it needs to turn professional. Many young athletes wouldn’t even have the chance to become pro, no matter if they had the potential or not. The college sports system in the United States is unique and is a big reason why the United States performs so well at the Olympics and why college athletes collect that many medals. Don’t forget that the United States won the medal race ahead of China with 39 gold medals. Colleges have brought the best athletes to this world and will continue to do so. 

The next Olympian could be you!

Fame, pride, gold medals and lots of trophies. The stars of today once were teenagers just like you. Sitting in their room or on the practice courts thinking about whether they could make it or not. The only difference to many other athletes was that they never gave up. There is enough proof that college sports is the best stepping stone to a professional career. So, what are you waiting for? Coaches are on the look-out for their next recruiting class, literally all the time. Work on your grades, skills, games and don't forget that the recruiting process is “a process” - it takes time and you should plan carefully what you can control. If you are unsure when or how to start with your recruiting process check out our Recruiting Guide or any other resources on our website. 

One last piece of advice for you: make sure you avoid the 5 Biggest Mistakes in the College Recruiting Process


Ready to get recruited? Check out what we have in store for you on Smarthlete. Research any school, see how well you stack up with the athletic level & get in touch with any college coach.

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The “Getting-Recruited-To-Your-Dream-College” Formula