Six Illini to Compete in London 2012 Olympic Games
July 25, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - A contingent of six former Fighting Illini student-athletes, plus one current UI head coach, will be in London over the next two weeks representing their respective countries in the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Stay up-to-date on all the Olympic action at Illinois Olympic Central.
A pair of former basketball stars, Robert Archibald (Great Britain) and 2008 gold medalist Deron Williams (USA) headline the Fighting Illini contingent in London. Four-time NCAA Champion and 2012 NCAA 100m and 110m hurdles champion Andrew Riley (Jamaica) leads a trio of former Illini track and field stars at the 2012 Games, which also includes hurdler Nikkita Holder (Canada) and discus thrower Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA). Former soccer star Emily Zurrer (Canada), who is appearing in her second Olympic games, rounds out the Illini athlete contingent in London.
In addition to the six athletes competing, current Illinois women's track and field head coach and former Olympic medalist Tonja Buford-Bailey is also in London as an assistant coach for USA women's track and field. She will work primarily with Team USA's sprinters and hurdles.
2012 ILLINOIS OLYMPIANS
Robert Archibald (1999-2002), a native of Scotland, is making his first Olympic appearance with host nation Great Britain. The Olympics will mark the final chapter of a productive 10-year pro career for Archibald, who plans to retire following the summer games. At Illinois, Archibald was a third-team All-Big Ten pick as a senior in 2002, averaging 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds while leading the Big Ten in field goal shooting at 65.9 percent. Archibald helped Illinois win back-to-back Big Ten titles and advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2001 and Sweet 16 in 2002.
Great Britain Men's Basketball Schedule | LINK
Canadian hurdler Nikkita Holder (2007-2009) will be making her first Olympic appearance this year. Holder finished third at the Canadian Trials with a career-best time of 12.80 to advance to London. Holder represented Canada in the 100m hurdles at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. At Illinois, Holder competed in the 100m hurdles, 100m and 60m hurdles, placing a career-best fourth in the 100m hurdles at the 2007 Big Ten Championships.
Olympic 100m Hurdles Schedule | LINK
Gia Lewis-Smallwood (1998-2001) will be competing in her first Olympic Games for the United States in the discus throw. Lewis-Smallwood represented Team USA at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, her first international experience after 11 years competing on the national level. A native of Champaign, Ill., Lewis-Smallwood was a All-American in the discus for the Fighting Illini in 2001, placing fifth at the NCAA Championships.
Olympic Discus Schedule | LINK
ANDREW RILEY | Illinois Bio
Recent Illini graduate Andrew Riley (2009-12) will cap off an incredible 2012 season by representing his home country of Jamaica at the Olympics. Riley finished second in a loaded field at the Jamaican Trials with a career best time of 13.19 to earn his trip to London. In June, Riley became the first male NCAA athlete ever to win both the 100m dash and 110m hurdles NCAA titles in the same year. He finished his Illinois career as a four-time NCAA champion, 12-time All-American and 12-time Big Ten Champion.
Olympic 110m Hurdles Schedule | LINK
Deron Williams (2003-05) will go for his second Olympic Gold medal with the United States men's basketball team in London. Williams was a part of Team USA's "Redeem Team" that won gold in Beijing in 2008. After being the highest Illinois player drafted at No. 3 overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, Williams has had a brilliant professional career. The seven-year NBA veteran and current Brooklyn Net averaged 21.0 points (11th in NBA) and 8.7 assists (fifth in NBA) last season and has participated in the last three NBA All-Star Games. At Illinois, Williams was a consensus second-team All-American in 2005 after leading the Illini to a national runner-up finish, Big Ten regular season and tournament titles, and final record of 37-2.
USA Men's Basketball Schedule | LINK
London 2012 will be the second Olympic appearance for Emily Zurrer (2005-08), as she also represented Canada in 2008 in Beijing, starting every game in the defensive backfield. Zurrer is in her fourth season on the Canadian national team and is one of the key figures on the Canadian defense. Zurrer also played at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany. At Illinois, Zurrer was a three-time All-American and the 2006 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. She scored 11 goals and had six assists in her UI career, and led the team in minutes played.
Canada Women's Soccer Schedule | LINK