As far as I’m concerned, the 2016 Rio Olympics will go down in history as the Maryland Olympics.
Athletes from the Old Line State dominated the field particularly in the sport of swimming, wrestling and basketball.
Ten athletes with Maryland ties helped the state earn 20 medals this year including 16 gold.
Swimmer Michael Phelps, a Baltimore native, finished as the most decorated Olympian of all-time. The 31-year-old captured 28 medals during his Olympic career including 23 gold medallions.
This year, Phelps was credited with six medals, all but one of them were gold. The other one was a silver medal he earned in the men’s 100-meter butterfly.
Other notable Maryland athletes that captured medals included basketball players Carmelo Anthony and Angel McCoughtry along with Matthew Centrowitz (track and field), Aaron Russell (volleyball) and Chase Kalisz (swimming).
Montgomery County athletes comprised half of the Maryland contingent with Katie Ledecky (Stone Ridge), Jack Conger (Good Counsel), Kevin Durant (Montrose Christian), Helen Maroulis (Magruder), and Kyle Snyder (Good Counsel) all bringing home gold medals.
Ledecky, a Bethesda native, continued her assault on the record books by capturing four gold medals and one silver medal in swimming.
Conger, a Rockville native, helped the men’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay team earn a gold medal.
Durant, an NBA superstar who left the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors this summer, scored 30 points to lead the United States to a 96-66 victory over Serbia in Sunday’s gold medal match.
Maroulis and Snyder helped put Maryland wrestling on the world map by capturing gold medals in record fashion.
Maroulis, a Rockville native, became the first American female to win a gold medal in wrestling while Snyder, 20, became the youngest American to capture wrestling gold.
In order to make Olympic history, the 24-year-old Maroulis had to dethrone Japan’s 16-time world champion, Saori Yoshida, who was seeking her fourth gold medal.
Maroulis came from behind to capture an impressive 4-1 victory over her Japanese opponent whom she had lost to twice before, both by pins.
Ten years ago, I interviewed Maroulis who was at the time seeking to become the first female wrestler in Maryland to ever win a match at the state wrestling tournament.
In 2006, the Magruder freshman made Montgomery County history by placing fourth at the MCPS Wrestling Tournament and then finished third at the 4A/3A Region Tournament that year.
“She’s one of our hardest workers,” then-Magruder head coach Max Sartoph told me that year. “She knows what it takes in order to be successful.”
Last week in Brazil, Maroulis captured Olympic gold and Sartoph was right there to celebrate with her.
Now the world knows just how special Maroulis and the other Maryland athletes are. Maryland is not just known for their seafood any longer.
Crab cakes and Olympic gold medals. That’s what Maryland does.
You can contact Brandy at: email@example.com