UVA Athletes Continue to Rack Up Olympic Medals in Tokyo

Collage of UVA olympic medalists

Swimmers Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass, along with rower Hannah Osborne, won Olympic medals in Tokyo on Tuesday. (Photos by Getty Images; illustration by Ziniu Chen, University Communications)

The success of current and former University of Virginia athletes at the Olympics in Tokyo this summer can be summed up best by a tweet from a football coach.

Matthew Edwards, who knows a thing or two about crunching numbers – he serves as UVA’s director of football analytics – had this gem:

On Tuesday, two days after incoming first-year swimmer Emma Weyant won a silver medal in the 400-meter individual medley, two more swimmers and a rower with UVA ties took home Olympic hardware.

Alex Walsh and Kate Douglass, teammates on UVA’s NCAA champion women’s swimming and diving team, captured silver and bronze medals for the United States in the 200-meter individual medley, while former Cavalier rower Hannah Osborne earned silver for New Zealand in the women’s double sculls.

Walsh and Douglass earned their medals in dramatic fashion. About halfway through the race, the swimmers were in third and sixth, respectively, until mounting a furious comeback.

“It has been great being able to watch all my other USA teammates medal and do amazing things,” Douglass said. “So now it was Alex’s (Walsh) and [my] chance to do that together, and it was awesome we were able to do that next to each other.”

Finishing just behind gold medalist Yui Ohashi of Japan, Walsh and Douglass both set new personal bests, moving up to fourth and ninth on the all-time list of fastest 200-meter IM swimmers in American history.

The duo’s performances marked the first time that two Americans made the podium in the women’s 200 IM since Tracy Caulkins and Nancy Hogshead did so in 1984.

Meanwhile, in the rowing finals, Osborne and teammate Brooke Donoghue finished second behind gold-winning Romania. Osborne rowed at UVA in 2014 before returning to New Zealand to pursue her national team career.

In the women’s quad, former UVA standout Inge Janssen (Netherlands) finished sixth as part of the Netherlands’ entry, while former softball and volleyball player Meghan O’Leary and her U.S. rowing teammates finished 10th.

Alumnae of UVA women’s rowing program have now won six Olympic medals for four different countries. Lindsay Shoop (U.S.) won gold in the women’s eight in 2008; Marlies Smulders (Netherlands) earned a silver in 2008 and a bronze in 2004 in the women’s eight; Melanie Kok (Canada) earned bronze in 2008 in the lightweight double sculls; and Inge Janssen (Netherlands) earned silver in the women’s quad in 2016.

With more medal rounds in a number of sports on the horizon, UVA has the chance to add to its already impressive collection of hardware.

Former UVA swimmer Paige Madden was set to compete in the 4×200 free relay on Wednesday night (Eastern time). 

Click here to learn which current and former Hoos are in Tokyo, and for all the latest results and schedules.

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