RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
The final week of the 2016 Summer Games proved successful for several Latter-day Saint athletes.
Two Mormons claimed Olympic medals, while three others — including two who just missed the medal podium — enjoyed successful results in their respective competitions.
Former Brigham Young University hitter Taylor Sander was part of the American men’s volleyball team that won the bronze medal Aug. 21 after defeating Russia. Taylor finished with 14 kills and two aces in the grueling, five-set match.
“I’m going to the locker room and take a deep breath and just enjoy it,” he said following the match. “It hasn’t hit me yet. But it’s amazing.”
Two days earlier, California native Sami Hill and her teammates on the United States women’s water polo team won gold in their Olympic final against Italy. The Americans won the match 12-5. It was the team’s second straight gold medal at the Olympics.
The Brazil women’s soccer team, which features LDS defender Bruna Beatriz Benites Soares, fell short in its efforts to win a medal on home soil. The Brazilians lost to Canada in the tournament’s bronze medal match.
Returned missionary/American race walker John Nunn competed in his third Olympics, finishing 43rd in the men’s 50km walk. John finished the race in just over 4 hours and 16 seconds.
And finally, returned missionary and BYU statistics professor Jared Ward may not have won a medal in the Aug. 21 Olympic marathon, but he did establish himself as one of the world’s premier marathoners after finishing sixth with a time of 2 hours 11 minutes and 30 seconds.
“I was just excited to do it for all the people at home — for Utah, for the U.S.,” he said. “It was hard out there but fun to have this opportunity to put on this jersey and play.”
Other LDS Olympians were featured in the Church News edition for the week of Aug. 21.