The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games brought some familiar faces over the historic 17-day event. All in all, three Nevada Wolf Pack alums made appearances and earned two medals along the way.
Former Nevada basketball alum JaVale McGee added to his decorated collegiate and professional reumé, earning a gold medal with Team USA. Entering his fourteenth year in the league, McGee has won three combined NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. He signed a one-year, $5 million deal this offseason with the Phoenix Suns. McGee spent two seasons at Nevada in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons, averaging 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds his sophomore year before declaring for the 2008 NBA Draft. He was selected 18th overall by the Washington Wizards and will be playing for his seventh career team heading into the 2021-22 NBA season.
Nevada swimming and diving alum Kyrsta Palmer took home a bronze medal in the 3-meter individual springboard. Palmer advanced through the 27-person preliminary round and placed fifth in the semifinals. She placed third in the finals for the bronze and became the first individual U.S. diver to win an Olympic medal since 2000 and the first American to do so in the 3-meter springboard since 1988. Palmer also participated in the 3-meter synchro finals with partner Alison Gibson, finishing eighth out of eight teams with 263.49 points.
Palmer is one of the most decorated and successful divers in school history from 2012-13 to 2015-16. In her final season, Palmer was awarded the 2015-16 Ruth Russell Award, given annually to the school’s top senior female student-athlete. As a senior, Palmer earned All-Mountain West and NCAA All-American honorable mention honors, which helped lead her to being named the MW Diver of the Year for the second straight season.
Nevada women’s soccer alum Aivi Luik secured a fourth-place finish with the Australian Olympic team. Australia went 2-3-1 overall and 1-1 in record play and upset Great Britain in the quarterfinals. Australia lost 1-0 to Sweden in the semifinals and fell to Team USA in the third-place match to place fourth. Luik started three of the six games in the Olympics.
Luik donned the silver and blue for the Wolf Pack from 2005-06. During her stint, Nevada won 11 games in 2005 and 13 in 2006 to make a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Luik made her World Cup debut in 2019 for Australia at 34 years old, the only member in school history to do so.
Northern Nevada athletes combined to win five medals at the Tokyo Games. Eight participants with ties to the local area made quite an impact in a bevy of sports and competitions. The three Wolf Pack alumni mentioned above were just a piece of the puzzle.
Isaiah Burrows can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @IsaiahBurrows_