The Bowerman Family Stars At The Tokyo Olympic Games

The Bowerman Family starred at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Eleven athletes with direct ties to collegiate track & field’s highest honor – past winners, current finalists and previous finalists – combined for 14 medals (seven gold, six silver, one bronze), one world record, one Olympic record and three American records.

How The Bowerman Fared At The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games

Award Year
Rai Benjamin
2018 Finalist
Men’s 4×400 Relay
Michael Norman
2018 Winner
Men’s 4×400 Relay
Mondo Duplantis
2019 Finalist
Men’s Pole Vault
Athing Mu
2021 Finalist
Women’s 800 Meters
Sydney McLaughlin
2018 Finalist
Women’s 400 Hurdles
Athing Mu
2021 Finalist
Women’s 4×400 Relay
Sydney McLaughlin
2018 Finalist
Women’s 4×400 Relay
Fred Kerley
2017 Finalist
Men’s 100 Meters
Grant Holloway
2019 Winner
Men’s 110 Hurdles
Rai Benjamin
2018 Finalist
Men’s 400 Hurdles
Keni Harrison
2015 Finalist
Women’s 100 Hurdles
Jenna Prandini
2015 Winner
Women’s 4×100 Relay
Raven Saunders
2016 Finalist
Women’s Shot Put
Raevyn Rogers
2017 Winner
Women’s 800 Meters

Those 14 medals set an all-time high for The Bowerman Family at the Olympic Games, topping the previous best of 10, set back in 2016.

The Bowerman Family Leads Team USA To Double Gold

Question: What do you get when you split four members of The Bowerman Family between two 4×400 relay teams in the final of the Olympics?

Answer: Fireworks and greatness.

Rai Benjamin and Michael Norman teamed up with Michael Cherry and Bryce Deadmon to win the final of the Men’s 4×400 Relay in 2:55.70, which is the second fastest American squad ever as well as the fourth fastest in world history. After Cherry led off in 44.2, Norman cut that split down to 44.0 on the second leg. Deadmon followed up with a 44.01 third leg and Benjamin brought it home at 43.40.

Sydney McLaughlin and Athing Mu joined forces with Allyson Felix and Dalilah Muhammad to run roughshod over the competition in the final of the Women’s 4×400 Relay. McLaughlin led off at 50.2, followed by Felix at 49.3. From there, Muhammad squeezed the split down to 48.94, before Mu blew the doors off everybody on the anchor leg at 48.32. All told, it came out to a final time of 3:16.85 and a three-second victory.

Was There Ever A Doubt?

Athing Mu is golden.

Mu, who is a finalist for The Bowerman in 2021 after a sensational freshman year at Texas A&M, won the gold medal and set an American record of 1:55.21 in the Women’s 800 Meters. Running at the front the entire time, Mu negative split the race, going through 400 meters in 57.82 and pulling away from the field on the homestretch on her way to a 57.39 final lap.

This is the first time that an American woman won gold in the event since 1968 (Madeline Manning Mims) and just the

McLaughlin Wins Gold, Sets WR

Sydney McLaughlin got the gold medal she coveted.

It also came with a world record.

McLaughlin, who was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2018 after a stellar year at Kentucky, won the gold medal in the Women’s 400 Hurdles and set a world record in the process with her winning time of 51.46. That shaved 0.44 seconds off the old world record that McLaughlin set at the U.S. Olympic Trials – Track & Field.

Born To Fly (And Win Gold)

Mondo Duplantis wanted more.

Duplantis, who was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2019 after a record-breaking year at LSU, already won the gold medal in the Men’s Pole Vault. He asked the bar to be raised to 6.19m (20-3¾), which would break his own world record. Duplantis barely touched the bar with his chest on the first attempt, knocking it off its perch. His other two attempts weren’t any closer, so he ended with a top bar of 6.02m (19-9).

Legendarily Fast

Imagine running under the world record and finishing second.

That’s how crazy the final of the Men’s 400 Hurdles was.

Rai Benjamin became the second fastest man in world history, but it wasn’t enough to beat Norway’s Karsten Warholm, who lowered his own world record in the process. Warholm won the gold medal in 45.94, while Benjamin took silver in an American record of 46.17.

Benjamin was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2018 after making a name for himself at Southern California.

Holloway Takes Silver

Grant Holloway added an Olympic medal to his growing resume.

Holloway, who won The Bowerman in 2019 after a record-breaking year at Florida, won the silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games in the Men’s 110 Hurdles. He finished runner-up to Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, 13.04 to 13.09.

Back in 2019, Holloway won the gold medal at the World Championships in the same event.

Prandini Lends Helping Hand

Jenna Prandini snagged a silver medal in a relay after coming up short in both of her individual events.

Prandini, who won The Bowerman in 2015 after a dream year at Oregon, helped Team USA to a runner-up finish in the Women’s 4×100 Relay. The former Duck took the baton third and worked the Americans into medal contention with a strong effort.

Team USA finished in 41.45, 0.43 seconds behind Team Jamaica.

Charleston … Stand Up!

Raven Saunders is an Olympic silver medalist!

Saunders, who was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2016 after a tremendous year at Ole Miss, put together an incredible field series in the final of the Women’s Shot Put. Donning the Hulk mask, Saunders opened at 19.65m (64-5¾), hit 19.62m (64-4½) in Round 3, 19.49m (63-11½) in Round 4 and then launched the orb 19.79m (64-11¼) to cement her spot on the podium.

This was Saunders’ second Olympic Games and first medal. She finished fifth in Rio five years ago.

The Gamble Pays Off

Never doubt Fred Kerley.

Kerley, who was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2017 after a stellar year at Texas A&M, captured the silver medal in the Men’s 100 Meters. He went 9.84 PB to finish between Italy’s Lamont Marcell Jacobs and Canada’s Andre De Grasse.

Many thought Kerley made a mistake choosing the 100 and 200 over the 400 at the U.S. Olympic Trials, especially after medaling in the 400 at the 2019 World Championships – but that wasn’t the case. Kerley took third in Eugene, Oregon and then second in Tokyo.

Silver For Harrison

Keni Harrison proved to be world-class once again.

Harrison, who was a finalist for The Bowerman in 2015 after a stellar year at Kentucky, earned the silver medal in the Women’s 100 Hurdles. It was a close battle for the runner-up spot behind champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, but Harrison took it at the finish line by 0.03 seconds (12.52 to 12.55) over Jamaica’s Megan Tapper.

This is the second global silver in a row for Harrison, who also took second at the 2019 World Championships.

Rogers Kicks To Bronze

Raevyn Rogers sat seventh with 75 meters to go in the final of the Women’s 800 Meters.

By the time the 2017 winner of The Bowerman crossed the finish line, she picked off four athletes on her way to capturing the bronze medal in a PR of 1:56.81.

Rogers tied Athing Mu for the fastest split over the final 100 meters – 14.01.


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