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Past and present Olympians with connections to the California Community Colleges

Flavio Alfaro

USA, baseball - College of the Canyons

Former College of the Canyons second baseman Flavio Alfaro, who was a member of the college’s 1981 State Championship baseball team, participated in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles as part of Team USA. Because baseball was introduced as a demonstration sport that year, no medals were awarded. However, the team — which also included future Major League Baseball superstars Mark McGwire, Barry Larkin and Will Clark — would eventually finish in second place, losing to Japan, 6-3, in the title game.

 

 

Ryan Bailey

USA, water polo - Long Beach City College men's asst. water polo coach

The former Long Beach City College men's water polo assistant coach fired in six goals at the 2012 FINA World League Super Final... Tallied eight goals en route to winning gold and an Olympic Games berth at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico...Led the team shooting with 52 percent and tied for team lead with 11 goals scored in a sixth place finish at the 2011 FINA World Championships...Was second on the team with seven goals during fourth place finish at FINA World League Super Final in Florence, Italy...Tallied a team high of 12 goals in a fourth place finish at the 2010 FINA World Cup.

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Lacy Barnes

USA, discus - Reedley College

Before becoming a psychology teacher at Reedley College, Barnes was the U.S. women's discuss national champion in 1988, 1991, and 1996. She competed in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, the 1991 and 1997 World Championships, the World University Games in 1989 and 1991, the Goodwill Games in 1990 and 1998, the 1993 Olympic Festival and the 1991 Pan American games where she won a bronze medal. She was the No. 1-ranked American discuss thrower in 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1996. At Fresno State, Barnes was a three-time NCAA All-American, placing second in the NCAA Championships in 1985, 1987, and 1988. She also won the 1997 women's discuss in the USA Mobil Championships.

From the Bob Elias Kern County Hall of Fame

 

 

Shannon Boxx

USA, soccer - Saddleback women's soccer asst. coach

Shannon Boxx's rise to the National Team is a unique story in that she made the 2003 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup Team without ever previously earning a cap - the only player in history to do so. The former Saddleback College women's soccer assistant coach was one of the revelations of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup … Developed into one of the world’s best defensive midfielders and had started every game but one that she played since debuting in 2003 with a goal against Costa Rica in her first World Cup match.

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Linda Chisolm

USA, volleyball - College of the Canyons

Former College of the Canyons volleyball player Linda Chisholm (1976-77), who eventually became an All-American at Pepperdine University, was an Olympian at the 1984 games in Los Angeles. Chisholm helped Team USA win a silver medal behind China. Chisholm was inducted into the College of the Canyons Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and the California Beach Volleyball Association Hall of Fame in 2008.

 

 

Lashinda Demus

USA, 400 hurdles - College of the Canyons asst. track coach

At the age of two, Lashinda Demus's mother introduced her to the track, not realizing that her admiration for running would eventually lead her to a No. 1 world ranking in the 400 meter hurdles. In 2001, Demus set the national high school record in the girls' 300 hurdles, and then went on as a freshman to help South Carolina win its only NCAA track and field championship. In 2005, she earned the first of two national titles in the 400 meter hurdles. When not running for gold, Demus is an assistant track and field coach at the College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

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Becky Dyroen-Lancer

USA, 1996 Olympic gold medalist, team synchronized swimming - De Anza & Saddleback colleges

Becky Dyroen-Lancer credits the multiple class offerings at her local community colleges for helping her to become the most decorated synchronized swimmer the United States has ever produced.

"I attended De Anza College from 1989-1993 taking classes part-time and training full-time for the U.S. team," said Dyroen-Lancer, now a synchronized swim team coach in Gainesville, Fla. "I won the team gold medal in the Summer Olympics in 1996 and after the Olympics I moved down to Southern California and took a couple more classes at Saddleback College before transferring to UC Irvine. The California Community Colleges allowed me to train full time as an Olympic athlete and to get through my college general ed."

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Johnny Gray

USA, track and field - Santa Monica College

Johnny Gray is a four-time track and field Olympian who won a bronze medal in the 1992 Games in Barcelona in the 800-meter run. Gray’s two-decade career as a competitive sprinter spans four Olympic games. He also twice won the gold at the Pan American Games. He still holds the American 800-meter indoor and outdoor records (1:42.60). Gray attended santa Monica College from 1979 through 1980 and graduated from Arizona State University in 1982.

 

 

Denean Hill

USA, track and field - College of the Canyons

Long before she ever entered the coaching ranks, current College of the Canyons assistant track coach Denean Hill made a name for herself as a three time Olympian (1984, 1988, 1992) and gold medal winner, as part of the 4x400-meter relay team from 1984. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, Hill earned a silver medal as part of the same 4x400 team, before going on to run in the same event at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Her 4x100 team did not medal i in Barcelona.

 

 

Flo Hyman

USA, volleyball - El Camino College

After opening eyes throughout the volleyball world during her freshman year at El Camino College in 1972-73, the native of Inglewood, Calif. became the first woman ever awarded an athletic scholarship at the University of Houston and joined Team USA in 1974. For a decade the 6-foot-5 middle blocker was the superstar of her sport. The U.S. boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow denied her an opportunity at a gold medal at her peak, but at the 1981 World Cup she was selected the tournament’s outstanding player. She remained with Team USA through the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where she led the team to a silver medal.

From Affinity Online magazine's story on Flo Hyman

 

 

Sim Iness

USA, Discus - El Camino College Compton Center, Porterville College

Sim Iness first attended college at Compton College, now El Camino College Compton Center, where he won the National Junior College discus championship in 1949. He also was a member of the winning Compton football squad along with future NFL Hall of Famer "Hurricane" Hugh McElhenny, which won the 1948 Junior Rose Bowl game, becoming National Junior College champions. He then transferred to the University of Southern California where he won the NCAA discus championship in 1952 and 1953. Iness won gold in the discus in 1952 Summer Olympics held in Helsinki, Finland with a throw of 180.5 feet. His gold medal triumph started the longest USA winning streak in the discus event in modern Olympic history. He set the discus world record on June 28, 1953 in Lincoln, Neb. at 190.05 feet and became the first man to throw farther than 190 feet.

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Kibwe Johnson

USA, hammer throw - Moorpark College

Kibwe Johnson transferred to Moorpark College from the University of Georgia in 2002 and won the California Community Colleges championship in the hammer and set the school record in the discus in 2003. He also was a safety on Moorpark's 2002 football team that won 10 games. He won the 2011 and 2012 United States men's hammer throw championships and qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics. He finished in ninth place overall but unleashed a season-best throw of 253 feet, 2 inches in qualifying. In the finals, Johnson could only manage a throw of 245 feet, 10 inches.

 

 

Alan Knipe

USA, men's volleyball head coach - Orange Coast College player; Golden West College head volleyball coach

To coach the U.S. Men, Knipe, 41, took a leave of absence from Long Beach State, where he has been the head coach for the past nine years. Two of Knipe’s former players – David Lee and Scott Touzinsky – were members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team that won the gold medal in 2008 in Beijing. The U.S. men's team were expected to battle for a gold medal but did not make it past the quarterfinals, losing 3-0 to Italy. Knipe was an assistant coach when U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff played at Long Beach State. Knipe spent one year at Orange Coast College before transferring to Long Beach State to play volleyball. In the 1994 and 1995 seasons, Knipe served as the head men's volleyball coach at Golden West College. In his second season, the Rustlers won the California State JC title and Knipe was named California State Coach of the Year.

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Lenny Krayzelburg

USA, swimming - Santa Monica College

Lenny first attended Santa Monica College where he won both the 100 and 200-yard (180 m) backstroke junior college titles. His coach at Santa Monica recognized his talent and recommended him to Mark Schubert at the University of Southern California. Lenny transferred to USC. In 1995, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. Three years later, he became the first swimmer since 1986 to sweep the backstroke events, 100 m & 200 m, in the World Championships. In 1999, Krayzelburg broke the 50-, 100- and the 200-meter world records respectively, setting the clock on 24.99, 53.60 and 1:55.87. He was then recognized as the top backstroke swimmer in the world and one of the best in the history of this swimming style. He continued to dominate at the Sydney 2000 Olympics backstroke, shattering the Olympic record and nearing his own 1999 world record with 53.72 in the 100, while making another Olympic record in the 200 with a 1:56.76. He also played an important role in helping the American team win a gold medal in the 4x100 m relay with a new world record of 3:33.73. In the 2004Olympics in Athens, Greece, Krayzelburg won his fourth gold medal as a member of the 4x100 medley relay team.

 

 

Nic Long

USA, Bicycle Motocross - Grossmont College

Nic Long didn’t have a particularly great day at the USA Cycling Olympic Trials held in Chula Vista on June 16. He finished in the middle of an elite eight-rider pack and didn’t think his ticket to the Summer Games in London would be stamped. But his third place standing throughout the racing season was enough for the USA Cycling and the U.S. Olympic Committee to fill out the American roster by awarding the Grossmont College alum a discretionary spot on the team and give him that ride across the pond, as the Brits say. Long just missed qualifying for the semi-finals.

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Courtney Mathewson

USA, Water polo - Long Beach City College asst. women's water polo coach

Courtney Mathewson was tired. Tired of all the countless laps and countless hours spent in the pool building up stamina for the competitive swim season. Water polo looked like it was a lot more fun, so she gave the sport a try and it changed her life. Now the former UCLA student and current Long Beach City College assistant water polo coach is an Olympian. Mathewson, 25, is an attacker for Team USA and leads her squad into the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She joined the national team in 2009 after an outstanding collegiate career for the Bruins, having helped UCLA to four consecutive NCAA titles. She was named the NCAA’s outstanding women’s water polo player after her senior season in 2008.

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Ahmed Mathlouthi

Tunisia, 200 freestyle - Santa Monica College

Santa Monica College freshman Ahmed Mathlouthi set three state records at the California Community College Athletic Association Swim and Dive State Championships at East Los Angeles College in April. His 500 yard freestyle time of 4:18.90 minutes not only shattered the state mark of 4:23.52 set in 2009 by Orange Coast College’s Riki Yano, but he broke the National Junior College Athletic Association record of 4.22.17 set in 2009 by Mateo De Angulo of Florida’s Indian River State College. Mathlouthi will compete for Tunisia in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. He’s qualified for the 200 meter freestyle event but did not make it out of his heat race.

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Misty May-Treanor

USA, volleyball - Irvine Valley College

Misty May-Treanor is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and is the most successful female beach volleyball in history with 112 individual championship wins in domestic and international competition. She is a former Irvine Valley College women's assitant volleyball coach. May-Treanor and teammate Kerri Walsh Jennings were the gold medalists in beach volleyball at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. They are considered the greatest beach volleyball team of all time. May-Treanor retired from competitive play after she and Walsh Jennings won gold for the third time in August at the London Games. They defeated the United States team of Jennifer Kessy and April Ross in the gold-medal match.

 

 

Kenneth Medwood

Belize, 400 hurdles - East Los Angeles College

Kenneth Medwood was his nation's flagbearer in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Medwood grew up in Los Angeles and attended East Los Angeles College where he began to excel in the hurdles. He was the California Community Colleges champion in the 400 meter hurdles in 2007 and 2008, establishing the state record in the 400 hurdles at 51.63. His next stop was Long Beach State University where he was runner up in the Big West Conference in both the 400 hurdles and long jump. He set his personal record in the 400 hurdles at the 2012 Mt. SAC Relays, running 49.54. He made the semi-finals at the London Olympics but finished 17th overall with a 49.87.

 

 

Cliff Meidl

USA, kayaking - El Camino College

Cliff Meidl is an El Camino College alumnus who competed in sprint kayaking in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He returned to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia competing in sprint kayaking and serving as the official Team USA flag bearer, as voted by the Team USA athletes. His inspiring story of courage and success was broadcast to nearly 2 billion viewers during the 2000 Olympics, detailing the 1986 construction accident that left him with a slight limp and unable to run. Working at a job site, Meidl had jack hammered into a buried power line that sent approximately 30,000 volts of electricity shooting through him. Determination and hard work prevailed and after three-and-a-half years of physical therapy and training, he was walking without crutches and soon competing against the world's best.

 

 

Jamie Nieto

USA, high jump - Sacramento City College

Jamie Nieto began high-jumping in 1993, while attending Valley High School in Sacramento, Calif. As a junior, he discovered that he had a talent and had a lot of fun high jumping. Nieto went to Sacramento City College with the goal of getting a degree, clearing 7-feet and getting a scholarship. He accomplished all three things. He jumped 7 feet 0 ¼ (2.14m) and started to develop a hunger for the Olympics, he said. The 1995 US Outdoor National Championships came to Sacramento City College and Nieto was able to watch elite high jumpers for the very first time. He said he saw Charles Austin jump 7’5 ¼ (2.27m) to win the meet.

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Jonathan Ohayon

Canada, Archery - San Bernardino Valley College and Crafton Hills College

Jonathan Ohayon competed as the only archer for Canada’s Olympic team at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He was one of 128 archers from around the world – 64 men and 64 women. Although he does other sports, such as judo, soccer, and snowboarding, nothing compares to archery, he said.

"It seemed a very natural fit for me,” said Ohayon, a web designer who is currently taking glassblowing classes at San Bernardino Valley College and has taken art classes at Crafton Hills College.

 

 

Sarah Robles

USA, weightlifting - Mt. San Jacinto College

Sarah Robles proved she was the best female weightlifter in the United States by winning the U.S. Olympic Trials in Columbus, Ohio in March. The Mt. San Jacinto College alumna lifted a combined 258 kilos (567.6 lbs.) in the snatch and clean & jerk events to beat Holley Mangold by three kilos. Both earned their way onto the Team USA squad – the only females - and will compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Robles, 23, is the reigning four-time national champion for the 75+ kilos division and is also the current American University Women’s record holder for the clean and jerk, a record she set (321.75 lbs.) in 2011 while a student Mt. San Jacinto College.

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Jarred Rome

USA, discus - San Diego Mesa College

Jarred Rome is a throws coach at San Diego Mesa College and is the defending U.S. discus champion. He earned his second Olympic berth on June 28, 2012 with a throw of 207 feet, 10 inches. Rome did not qualify for the discus final round and finished 31st with a throw of 195 feet, 4 inches.
"Jarred Rome has already made his mark at Mesa," said San Diego Mesa College Athletics Director Dave Evans. "One of his students, Cassandra Kennison, placed first in the State in the women's shot put this past year."
A native of Seattle, Wash., Rome lives and trains at the Chula Vista Training Center.

 

 

Jesse Ruiz

Mexico, Freestyle wrestling - Santa Ana College

Former Santa Ana College student-athlete Jesse Ruiz qualified as a member of the Mexican Olympic team and will compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, England. He will compete as a heavyweight in the freestyle division. Ruiz was a two-time All-American at Santa Ana College (2003, 2004) and finished second in the California Community College Athletic Association state finals both years.

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Félix Sánchez

Dominican Republic, 400 hurdles - San Diego Mesa College

Félix Sánchez is an American track and field athlete who specializes in the 400 meter hurdles event, where he is the reigning Olympic champion after winning gold Aug. 6 with a time of 47.63 - the same time he had in 2004 to win gold in Athens, Greece. He was also world champion in 2001 and 2003. He is nicknamed "Super Felix", "the Invincible", "Superman", and "the Dictator." Sánchez was born in New York City to Dominican parents and was raised in San Diego, Calif. He attended University City High School and San Diego Mesa College. "Mesa gave me the [academic and athletic] foundation I needed," Sanchez said after winning his first gold medal. "Mesa grounded me.".

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Hayes Edward "Big Ed" Sanders

1952 Olympic gold medalist, Heavyweight boxing - El Camino College Compton Center

Hayes Edward "Big Ed" Sanders (1930-1954) won the gold medal in heavyweight boxing at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. At the age of 22, he became the first African American Olympic heavyweight champion, and returned to the United States as a national hero. His Olympic championship bout with Sweden's Ingemar Johansson became boxing lore when Johansson was eventually disqualified by the referee during the second round for "failure to fight."

Sanders was born March 24, 1930, and grew up in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. He attended Jordan High School in Los Angeles, and played on the football and basketball teams. After high school, he enrolled at the former Compton College, now the El Camino College Compton Center, during the 1949-1950 school year, where he played football under then head coach Ken Carpenter and joined the newly formed boxing team. Within two years, he twice won the National Junior College Boxing Championship in the heavyweight division.

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Gary Sato

USA, men's volleyball - Santa Monica College

Gary Sato attended Santa Monica College from 1973 to 1977 before becoming an All-American outside hitter at the University of California at Santa Barbara. Sato was the assistant coach for the 1988 Olympic Gold medal team in Seoul and in 1992 he coached the Olympic team that won bronze. A distinguished coach, he was the assistant of the 1986 World Championship team and the 1987 Pan American Games. He then served as the head coach for the gold-medal win at the 1985 FIVB world cup in Japan and was voted most valuable coach of the tournament.

 

 

Liane Sato

USA, volleyball - Santa Monica College

Liane attended Santa Monica College in 2002, but played collegiate volleyball at San Diego State University. She played professional beach volleyball before joining the 1988 and 1992 USA Olympic Women’s Teams. She was an Olympic bronze medalist at the 1992 games after winning a bronze in the 1990 World Championships.

 

 

George Stanich

USA, high jump - Sacramento City & El Camino colleges

Voted as the greatest all-around athlete in Sacramento City College history, George Stanich won a bronze medal in the high jump in the 1948 Summer Olympic Games in London. At Sacramento City he lettered in baseball, basketball, and track and field during the 1946-47 school year. He was the leading scorer for the basketball team, the top pitcher on the baseball team and the top high jumper in the state, while also competing in the hurdles. Stanich became the first of John Wooden's all-Americans at UCLA and later a professional baseball pitcher in the Pacific Coast League for the Oakland Oaks. Stanich was a successful basketball coach and physical education teacher at El Camino College.

 

 

Edino Steele

Jamaica, 4x400m relay -Pasadena City College

Edino Steele was the Pasadena City College 2006-07 athlete of the year and will compete for Jamaica in the 4x400 relay. Steele, 25, won four state titles for Pasadena City College. In 2007, Steele won four titles at the California Community College state track and field championships. That's still a school record. He was named athlete of the meet with wins in the 200 and 400 meters and helped Pasadena City College capture 4x100 and 4 x400 relay titles. He still holds the school record in the 200 of 20.37 seconds. He also posted state bests in the 200 and 400 during both his freshman and sophomore seasons.

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Brenda Villa

USA, water polo - Cerritos College women's asst. water polo coach

In 2005, Villa became assistant coach of the women's water polo team at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. The Falcons ended the season with a 21-11 record, a new school record for most wins in a season. Villa recalls her favorite water polo moment as defeating Hungary to qualify for the first ever Women’s Water Polo Olympic Games ...A four-time girls 1st Team All-American in high school ... Has played professionally in Italy for parts of seasons since 2008. Although she is the shortest player on Team USA, she is one of the worlds' most prolific goal scorers.

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