A Country Apart?
Texas Dominates Olympic Medal Count, Finishes Behind Only Two Actual Nations in Total GoldsBY Chris Baldwin // 08.22.16
Simone Biles knows how to rack up hardware — for the U.S. and Texas.
Simone Manuel made a huge medal impact for Texas.
Connor Fields brought BMX racing into the medal count for Texas.
It turns out Texas could dominate as its own country — as long as the arena was athletics. In fact, few countries in the world can beat Texas in straight-up competition. Only two in fact.
That is how many nations brought home more gold medals than just Texas from the Rio Olympics. Two. The United States and Great Britain are the nations that outdid the Lone Star State for the summer games’ ultimate prize. Texas Olympians racked up 26 gold medals by themselves. The U.S. hauled in 46 golds, and Great Britain picked up 27. China also collected a Texas-equaling 26.
Even if you factor in the lesser medals, Texas would finish tied for fifth (with Germany, at 42 total medals each) in the country medal count by itself. Somewhere, a secessionist is preparing a fiery, I-told-you-so speech. It sure helps to have Simone Biles and Simone Manuel on your side. Spring’s groundbreaking gymnastics sport changer and Sugar Land’s swimming superstar accounted for nine medals (including six golds, four from Biles) themselves.
Still, it is Texas’ athletic depth that help set apart in Rio. In all, 30 different Texans ended up medaling. Both the Gold Medal Men’s Basketball Team (University of Texas’ Kevin Durant, Houston’s DeAndre Jordan and Tomball’s Jimmy Butler) and the Gold Medal Women’s Basketball Team (Houston’s Brittney Griner and Duncanville High’s Tamika Catchings) relied on huge contributions from Texas stars. Griner even called out one of the non-Texans on the U.S. Men’s Team (DeMarcus Cousins) and challenged him to a game of one-on-one.
That’s Texas bluster. So is one college racking up 13 medals in Rio. That was the haul for the University of Texas products who competed in Rio. And it’s a haul that glitters — 10 golds are included in that lucky 13. UT swept gold in both the men’s and women’s shot put thanks to Ryan Crouser and Michelle Carter. In fact, most of Texas’s medals came from the Summer Olympics’ two premier disciplines: Swimming and Track & Field accounted for 11 of the 13 Longhorn medals.
Texas wasn’t all traditional, though. Plano’s Connor Fields won an Olympic gold medal in BMX racing — despite competing with a broken wrist. That’s Texas grit.
So yes, as a Texan (transplant or native born — the Olympians run the gamut), it’s all right to feel some pride. “The Star Spangled Banner” came tinged with plenty of “Deep In the Heart of Texas” this Olympics. It’s also all right to feel a little fake pity for entire countries that couldn’t come close to matching just the Texas medal count. We’re looking at you Brazil (19 total medals, a mere seven gold) and Canada (22 total medals, only four gold).
But before anyone gets any Donald Trump-level ideas about Texas actually standing alone, just look at what’s happening in Britain after the Brexit. Going it alone in sports is a lot different than really going it alone. That’s a whole other ballgame.