Deron Williams with his two Olympic gold medals from Beijing and London.
Aug. 16, 2012
A pair of former Illini returned from the London 2012 Summer Olympics with medals. Former Illinois basketball star Deron Williams won his second straight gold medal with USA Basketball, while former Illini soccer star Emily Zurrer earned a bronze medal with Canada. Williams is just the third Illini in school history and first in more than 50 years to win two Olympic gold medals. He joins Harold Osborn, who won both the decathlon and high jump at the 1924 games in Paris, and Bob Richards, who won the pole vault at the 1952 games in Helsinki and the 1956 games in Melbourne.
Williams and Zurrer were two of six former Fighting Illini that competed in at the London 2012 Olympic Games, as they were joined by basketball player Robert Archibald (Great Britain), discus thrower Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA) and hurdlers Nikkita Holder (Canada) and Andrew Riley (Jamaica). See below for recaps and links on how each former Illini performed in London.
DERON WILLIAMS | Illinois Bio | USA Bio
USA, Men's Basketball
*** GOLD MEDAL WINNER ***
Team USA won gold for the second consecutive Olympics, defeating Spain on in the final 107-100 to complete an 8-0 sweep of the competition in London. Former Illini Deron Williams (2003-05) averaged 9.0 points and 4.6 assists per game and earned his second gold medal. He is one of five players from the 2008 U.S. team to repeat at this summer's games, joined by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul. Williams became just the third Illini in school history and first in more than 50 years to win two Olympic gold medals. Williams had a double-double of 13 points and 11 assists in the United States' record-setting 156-73 win over Nigeria on Aug. 2 and had a tournament-high 18 points in the quarterfinal win over Australia.
USA Men's Basketball Schedule (Group A) | LINK
7/29 vs. France - W, 98-71 (3 pt, 4 reb, 6 ast, 21 min)
7/31 vs. Tunisia - W, 110-63 (9 pt, 0 reb, 4 ast, 1 blk, 1 stl, 15 min)
8/2 vs. Nigeria - W, 156-73 (13 pt, 0 reb, 11 ast, 18 min)
8/4 vs. Lithuania - W, 99-94 (12 pt, 1 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 23 min)
8/6 vs. Argentina - W, 126-97 (5 pt, 2 reb, 5 ast, 1 stl, 15 min)
8/8 QF vs. Australia - W, 119-86 (18 pts, 2 ast, 3 reb, 22 min)
8/10 SF vs. Argentina - W, 109-83 (6 pts, 6 ast, 2 reb, 20 min)
8/12 Final vs. Spain - W, 107-100 (6 its, 1 ast, 10 min) | Recap | Box
EMILY ZURRER | Illinois Bio | Canada Bio
Canada, Women's Soccer
***BRONZE MEDAL WINNER ***
Former Illini star Emily Zurrer (2005-08) came back from London with a bronze medal after Canada defeated France 1-0 in the bronze medal game on Aug. 9 at City of Coventry Stadium. A starter on Canada's 2008 Olympic team in Beijing, Zurrer's second Olympics were cut short by a hamstring injury. Zurrer did not play in London due to the injury but still earned a medal with the team. Canada went 1-1-1 in Group F and advanced to the quarterfinals, where they defeated Great Britain 2-0 and then fell to the United States in the semifinals 4-3 in overtime in is thrilling match. Read Zurrer's Olympic blog for the Big Ten Network.
Canada Women's Soccer Schedule (Group F) | LINK
7/25 vs. Japan - L, 1-2 (DNP - Injured)
7/28 vs. South Africa - W, 3-0 (DNP - Injured)
7/31 vs. Sweden - T, 2-2 (DNP - Injured)
8/3 Quarterfinal vs. Great Britain - W, 2-0 (DNP - Injured)
8/6 Semifinal vs. USA - L, 3-4 OT (DNP - Injured)
8/9 Bronze Medal Game vs. France - W, 1-0 (DNP - Injured)
ROBERT ARCHIBALD | Illinois Bio | Great Britain Bio
Great Britain, Men's Basketball
Archibald helped Great Britain to its first ever Olympic win, 90-58 over China on Aug. 6, with eight points and nine rebounds. Archibald, who is retiring after 10 years of professional basketball after the Olympics, averaged 2.6 points and 4.0 rebounds during Great Britain's five games, playing solid minutes as a defensive specialist. The host country went 1-4 in group play and did not advance to the medal round. At Illinois from 1999-2002, 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.
GB Men's Basketball Schedule (Group B) | LINK
7/29 vs. Russia - L, 75-95 (0 pt, 4 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 13 min)
7/31 vs. Brazil - L, 62-67 (1 pt, 0 reb, 12 min)
8/2 vs. Spain - L, 78-79 (2 pt, 6 reb, 1 ast, 19 min)
8/4 vs. Australia - L, 75-106 (2 pt, 1 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 15 min)
8/6 vs. China - W, 90-58 (8 pt, 9 reb, 1 ast, 24 min)
NIKKITA HOLDER | Illinois Bio | Canada Bio
Canada, Women's Track & Field (100m hurdles)
Canadian hurdler Nikkita Holder advanced to the semifinals of the 100m hurdles with time of 12.93 in round 1. She ran an identical time of 12.93 in the semis to finish 16th overall and miss advancing to the final. It was Holder's first Olympic appearance. Holder finished third at the Canadian Trials with a career-best time of 12.80 to advance to London. She represented Canada in the 100m hurdles at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea. At Illinois from 2007-09, 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.
ANDREW RILEY | Illinois Bio
Jamaica, Men's Track & Field (110m hurdles)
Recent Illini graduate Andrew Riley (2009-12) did not advance out of the first round in the 110m hurdles. The four-time NCAA champion at Illinois ran a 13.59 in round 1 to finish 24th overall, missing the semifinals by just one place and two one-hundredths of a second. Riley's PR of 13.19 at the Jamaican Trials would have advance to the finals and finished fourth, but it was not to be in 2012.
Despite the disappointment in London, Riley had an incredible 2011-12 season. In June, he 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.
Riley at the 2012 Olympics
Round 1: 13.59 - 24th (did not advance to semis) | Results
GIA LEWIS-SMALLWOOD | Illinois Bio | USA Bio
USA, Women's Track & Field (discus)
Gia Lewis-Smallwood narrowly missed advancing to the finals of the discus throw with a toss of 61.44m, finishing in 15th place during the qualifying round (top 12 advanced). It was the first Olympic experience for Lewis-Smallwood. A native of Champaign, Ill. and a member of the Illinois track and field team from 1998-2001, Lewis-Smallwood was a All-American in the discus for the Fighting Illini in 2001, placing fifth at the NCAA Championships. She represented Team USA at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, her first international experience after 11 years competing on the national level.
Lewis-Smallwood at the 2012 Olympics
Qualifying Round: 61.44m - 15th (failed to qualify for finals) | Results