A year has passed since the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, but that hasn’t stopped many Team USA athletes from springboarding their success on the international stage back to their college campuses. With a number of Olympians still actively competing at the college level, many have continued to crush records and collect even more hardware to accompany their Olympic medals. Here’s what some of our collegiate Olympians have been up to in the year since the 2016 Games came to a close.
J'Den Cox, Wrestling, University of Missouri
Off the heels of a bronze medal last August, Cox amassed an impressive 28-0 record during his senior campaign at Missouri, picking up a Mid-American Conference (MAC) and NCAA championship at the 197-pound weight class. Following the conclusion of his collegiate wrestling career, Cox joined the Mizzou wrestling staff as a volunteer assistant coach. Cox is still competing on the international stage and is set to represent the United States as a member of the national team at the world championships in Paris this week.
Caeleb Dressel, Swimming, University of Florida
After winning gold in Rio as a member of the 4x100-meter freestyle team, Dressel took the swimming world by storm at both the collegiate and international levels. The junior racked up three NCAA individual championships in the 50 free, 100 free and 100 fly, setting a NCAA record in the 100 free (40.00) and 100 fly (43.58). Following the conclusion of his collegiate season at Florida, Dressel stood atop the podium seven times at the 2017 FINA World Championships. The Green Cove Springs, Florida, native took the world title in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 fly, 4x100 medley, 4x100 free, 4x100 mixed free and 4x100 mixed medley.
Steele Johnson, Diving, Purdue University
Johnson used his silver medal in synchronized 10-meter diving to propel himself to two NCAA individual championships in 1-meter and 3-meter springboard and a second-place finish in the 10-meter platform. The Purdue sophomore was named CSCAA Diver of the Year and Big Ten Diver of the Year while being named an All-American in all three diving events. At the 2017 FINA World Championships, Johnson placed seventh in the 1-meter springboard and sixth in the synchronized 10-meter platform.
Madison Kocian, Gymnastics, UCLA
The ‘Final Five’ member carried the momentum from her two medals (a team gold and uneven bars silver) in Rio to a stellar showing on the collegiate gymnastics stage as a freshman at UCLA. Kocian took the college scene by storm, recording four All-America honors (postseason first-team all-around and floor, regular season first-team all-around and second-team floor) while competing in the all-around for the Bruins in 12 of 14 meets. The Dallas, Texas, native highlighted her inaugural collegiate season with a perfect 10.00 against Stanford in February.
Simone Manuel, Swimming, Stanford University
After taking home four medals in Rio, Manuel posted one of the most impressive calendar years by a collegiate swimmer. The Stanford junior took home four NCAA event championships in the 50 free, 100 free, 400 free relay and 800 free relay while anchoring her team to a NCAA team championship. Manuel was named Pac-12 Swimmer of the Year and garnered seven All-America honors for her performances in the pool. Most recently at the 2017 FINA World Championships, Manuel added six medals to her collection; five gold and one bronze. The Sugar Land, Texas, native won gold in the 100-meter free, 4x100 free, 4x100 medley, 4x100 mixed free and the 4x100 mixed medley and placed third in the 50 free.
Leah Smith, Swimming, University of Virginia
Smith piggybacked her impressive two-medal performance in Rio with an equally impressive season at the University of Virginia. The senior placed second at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in both the 500-meter free and 1,650-meter free, earning All-America honors in both races as well. As a member of the FINA World Championships team, Smith racked up three medals, touching first in the 4x200 free relay, second in the 400 free and third in the 800 free.
Kyle Snyder, Wrestling, Ohio State
After becoming the youngest Olympic wrestling champion in U.S. history, Snyder posted a perfect 17-0 record in the heavyweight category as a junior at Ohio State. The Woodbine, Maryland, native took home both the NCAA national title and Big Ten championship in the heavyweight weight class last season as well. In international competition, Snyder won the Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix and is set to represent the red, white and blue at the wrestling world championships in Paris this week.
Maggie Steffens, Water Polo, Stanford University
Following her second consecutive Olympic gold medal in Rio, Steffens pieced together a 65-goal campaign to close out her collegiate career at Stanford. The Danville, California, native was an integral part of Stanford’s NCAA championship run, scoring the game-winning goal with nine seconds left in an 8-7 victory over UCLA in the national championship match. Steffens racked up tournament MVP honors and was named All-NCAA Tournament First-Team while also being named ACWPC Player of the Year and ACWPC First Team All-American. Internationally, Steffens tallied 11 goals and 14 assists, leading Team USA to gold at the 2017 FINA World Championships.
Virginia Thrasher, Shooting, West Virginia
Thrasher matched her 10-meter air rifle gold in Rio with a NCAA national championship as a member of the West Virginia rifle team. The Mountaineer led her team to the top of the podium while placing second and seventh in the individual smallbore championship and the individual air rifle championship, respectively. Thrasher continued her success on the world stage, placing fifth in the world in junior women’s 10-meter air rifle at the 2017 ISSF Junior World Championship Rifle/Pistol this past June.