USC athletes ready to shine at the 2024 Olympics

Set against the backdrop of iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées, the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics will begin on July 26 and mark the first games of the post-COVID-19 era. As the world turns its eyes to the French capital – Paris hosting the summer games for the first time since 1924 – the city is pulling out all the stops to ensure a memorable event.

These Summer Olympics mark a historic return for the city, which has already hosted the spectacle twice, joining London and Los Angeles as one of the only cities to host the games three times. The 2024 Paris Olympics will introduce a new sport, bringing a unique flavor to the games. Breaking, making its Olympic debut, will showcase the artistry and athleticism of street dancing. Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing after debuting during the Tokyo 2020 Games. However, baseball, softball and karate, which were part of the 2020 Tokyo Games, will not return this year.

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USC’s legacy in the Olympics

USC has a proud Olympic heritage, with 510 athletes collecting 326 medals, including 153 gold, 96 silver and 77 bronze. Cardinal and Gold’s notable achievements come from Allyson Felix, John Naber, Andre De Grasse and Janet Evans, to name a few.

In 2020, the Trojans sent a record 65 athletes to the Tokyo Olympics, where they reached the podium 21 times – the second most for an American university. USC has had the most gold medalists, with 11.

As the public looks forward to the 2024 Paris Olympics, the participation of USC alumni and current students promises to be a highlight. From athletics to beach volleyball and water polo, the Trojan spirit will be fully present in the French capital this summer.

Michael Norman (track)

Michael Norman is one of the favorites to win 400 meter gold in Paris for the United States. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Norman played a pivotal role in winning gold for the United States in the 4×400 meter relay. However, he failed to make the podium in his signature event, the 400m, finishing fifth.

The Southern California native looks ready to make a statement at this year’s summer games. In 2022, he became the first American 400m world champion since 2013 at the World Athletics Championships with a time of 44.29. Later in the year, he improved on this time, recording a season’s best time of 44.07 at the Olympic Trials.

Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes (beach volleyball)

Kelly Cheng and Sara Hughes were both standout athletes for the Trojans. They won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2016 and 2017, looking unbeatable on the sand.

However, what appeared to be a problematic partnership for the opponents was to be made clearer early in their professional careers. In 2018, they split up to pursue different partners in their quest for the Tokyo Olympics. It wasn’t until late 2022 that they came together, and their partnership has since borne fruit.

The two men now occupy fourth place in the International Volleyball Federation world rankings after the Xiamen Challenge. They captured the title at the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha, Qatar, marking a significant feat for an American pair since USC alumna Alix Klineman and April Ross won gold in Tokyo.

Kaleigh Gilchrist, Emily Ausmus, Amanda Longan and Denise Mammolito (water polo)

Women’s water polo is looking to continue its gold medal streak that began at the 2012 London Olympics.

Veterans Kaleigh Gilchrist, Amanda Longan and Denise Mammolito add much to the all-star U.S. team that has become a powerhouse in women’s water polo. However, the Americans are also entering with youngsters on their team this year. USC freshman phenom Emily Ausmus – who took a year off for the 2024 Games – will make her Olympic debut.

Ausmus is no stranger to playing higher roles against older players. The 18-year-old from Riverside, California, competed in the Junior Pan American Water Polo Championships at just 12 years old – a tournament typically reserved for players 19 and younger.

Gilchrist, Longan and Mammolito all made their mark during their time as Trojans, with Gilchrist contributing to NCAA titles in 2013, Longan leading to championships in 2016 and 2018 and Mammolito playing a central role in victories in 2018 and 2021.

The Paris Olympic Games will open on July 26 on the Seine and close on August 11.