South Florida Olympic athletes are golden

Miami Herald Editorial Board

Miami goalie Ashleigh Johnson of the U.S. women’s water polo team, blocks a shot. Johnson helped the team win gold in Rio.
Miami goalie Ashleigh Johnson of the U.S. women’s water polo team, blocks a shot. Johnson helped the team win gold in Rio. MIAMI FILE ART

Swimmer Ryan Lochte’s “overexaggerated” robbery tale aside, American athletes put on quite a show in Rio — and distracted us from the pressing challenge of electing a president.

They also made us proud.

Yes, our perennial enemies, the Russians, had a diminished team, but still the United States won 46 gold medals. And some impressive winners hailed from South Florida — from Liberty City, Miami, Homestead, Fort Lauderdale and Wellington.

There were 27 athletes with South Florida ties competing in the Olympics.

By the time the competition ended over the weekend, their medal count was impressive.

Five won gold medals:

▪ Brianna Rollins, a Miami Northwestern graduate and track and field star in the 100-meter hurdles, led the first U.S. sweep in the event in history.

▪ Monica Puig, of Miami, and representing her native Puerto Rico in tennis, made a surprising run and won the gold medal — the first-ever in any sport for Puerto Rico.

▪ Arman “Gino” Hall, who attended St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, helped Team USA win in the track and field 4X400 relay.

▪ Sylvia Fowles, a Liberty City-raised center for the women’s basketball team who attended Gulliver Academy, helped the her team win the gold.

▪ Ashleigh Johnson, the goal keeper for the women’s water polo team and the only player on Team USA not from California, who attended Ransom Everglades,propelled the team to snagging its gold medal.

Four won silver medals:

▪ Danell Leyva, the Cuba-born gymnast won medals, too, despite the fact that he did not originally make the squad and was a late addition to the team. He took advantage and took second place in the high bar and parallel bars.

▪ Tennis star Venus Williams, of Palm Beach Gardens, won a silver medal in mixed doubles with Rajeev Ram.

▪ Sam Dorman, a University of Miami student taking part in synchro diving, who took silver in the synchronized three-meter diving with Indiana’s Michael Hixon.

▪ Kent Farrington, of Wellington, an equestrian, won a silver medal in team jumping,

Two won bronze medals:

▪ Foluke Akinradewo, a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas who played in women’s volleyball team.

▪ Allison Brock, of Wellington, won a bronze in the equestrian dressage in the team dressage.

Well done, Team South Florida, well done!