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Record Total in Rio Boosts Penn State Athletics Past 100 Olympians All-Time

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Aug. 9, 2016

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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.-- Penn State's school record contingent for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero, Brazil has boosted the Nittany Lions past 100 student-athlete Olympians all-time.

Penn State ranks second among Big Ten institutions with a school record 25 Olympians in Rio, which includes 17 competitors, three coaches and five alternates. With 12 first-time competitors, the Nittany Lions have had a total of 109 student-athlete Olympians all-time.

According to data announced by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), Penn State's 11 competitors on Team USA leads the Big Ten and are tied for No. 10 among all colleges and universities. The Nittany Lions are tied with Florida and Washington with 11 Team USA members for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad.

Not including the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where 65 countries did not participate, Penn State has sent athletes to each Summer Olympics since 1948, a streak of 17 consecutive Games. Penn State sent a then-school record 17 competitors and coaches to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Penn State's first student-athlete Olympian was Lee Talbot in 1908, who participated in track and field, wrestling and the tug-of-war in London. A pair of Nittany Lions have participated in four Olympic Games- Knute Hjeltnes (Norway; track and field) in 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988 and Romel Raffin (Canada; men's basketball) also in 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988. The United States, Canada and Norway were among the 65 countries that boycotted the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

The Nittany Lions have won 29 Olympic medals through the years, with five gold, nine silver and 15 bronze. The first medals won by a Penn Stater came in the 1920 Summer Games by track and field athletes Harold Barron (silver) and Larry Shields (gold and bronze) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Suzie McConnell is the last Penn Stater to capture a gold medal, earning the medal as a member of the 1988 U.S. women's basketball team. McConnell also took home bronze at the 1992 Games.

A total of 34 Nittany Lions have been a competitor or alternate in multiple Olympic Games, including seven of the 2016 contingent: Matt Anderson (men's volleyball), Miles Chamley-Watson (fencing), Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen (women's volleyball), Megan (Hodge) Easy (women's volleyball), Nicole Fawcett (women's volleyball), Alisha Glass (women's volleyball) and Daniel Gomez-Tanamachi (fencing; Mexico).

Also among Penn State's multi-year Olympians is Nittany Lion field hockey coach Charlene Morett-Curtiss. A Penn State All-America field hockey and lacrosse student-athlete, she was a member of the 1980 U.S. field hockey team that did not participate due to 65-nation boycott. In 1984, Morett-Curtiss was a member of the bronze medal winning field hockey squad in Los Angeles.

The schedule for Penn Staters competing on Tuesday:

  • Senior Shane Ryan returns to the pool in the 100-meter freestyle. His heat is at 12:08 p.m. ET
  • The U.S. men's volleyball team, which features a trio of former Nittany Lions in Matt Anderson, Max Holt and Aaron Russell, continues group play vs. Italy, Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET on NBC
  • The Japan women's basketball team plays Turkey, Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. Former Nittany Lion basketball standout Tom Hovasse is an assistant coach with the Japanese squad.
  • The U.S. women's soccer team, which includes former Nittany Lion standouts and World Cup champions Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher, is back in action against Colombia, Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN
On Wednesday, the U.S. women's volleyball team, which includes former Penn State All-Americans Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen and Alisha Glass, faces Sebria at 2 p.m. ET on NBC.

In addition to the NBC Television networks, coverage of the Olympics can also be found on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App.

The complete schedule for Penn State Athletics' competitors and coaches and more can be found at the Nittany Lions' Rio Olympics Central: http://www.gopsusports.com/olympians/rio-2016.html.

The school-record 25 Penn Staters are representing their school and five countries across 10 sports at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Check Penn State's Olympics Central at: http://www.gopsusports.com/olympians/rio-2016.html and the Penn State Athletics social media channels for the competition schedule for Penn State's competitors and updates throughout the Rio Olympics.

@GOPSUSPORTS

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