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U.S. Olympians with a College Degree

Did you find yourself glued to the TV during the Olympics? It’s hard not to be inspired after watching the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team take gold or U.S. Swimmer Rebecca Soni break the breaststroke world record not once, but twice. These are the best athletes in the world, but like many Rasmussen College students, some U.S. Olympians also exercised their minds in a college classroom.

Take Soni, for example. She’s no doubt the talk of the 2012 London Olympics after winning back-to-back Olympic titles in the 200-meter breaststroke. Before making it to London though, she graduated from the University of Southern California in 2009 with a degree in communications. Here are some other U.S. Olympians with a college degree:

Lolo Jones – Track and Field

Lori Jones, better known as Lolo Jones specializes in the 60 and 100 meter hurdles. She graduated from Louisiana State University (LSU) in 2005 with a degree in economics. She won three NCAA titles while at LSU. Sadly, Jones missed an Olympic medal in London in the 100-meter hurdles by just one-tenth of a second.

Ryan Lochte – Swimming

Ryan Lochte gained national attention after beating Michael Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley at the start of the 2012 London Olympics. After a week of swimming, he earned five medals, two gold, two silver, and one bronze. Not bad for the 2007 University of Florida graduate who earned himself a degree in sports management.

Michael Phelps – Swimming

He may have lost to Lochte in the 400-meter IM in London, but Michael Phelps is still the most decorated Olympian of all time. He took four gold medals and two silvers in the 2012 London Olympics. Phelps graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with a degree in English.

Hope Solo – Soccer

Hope Solo is the goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team. She helped her teammates take gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again in London. Solo graduated from the University of Washington. She majored in speech communications.

Jonathan Horton – Gymnastics

The Oklahoma Sooner has a lot to be proud of. Jonathan Horton took home two medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Sadly, the London Olympics did not go as well for him, but he still has several NCAA and World Championship titles. Horton graduated from OU in 2008 with a degree in business management.

Mary Whipple – Rowing

Standing 5’3” and weighing just 108 pounds, Mary Whipple coxed the U.S. Women’s Rowing Team to their second straight Olympic title in London. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2002, and coxed the Huskies to back-to-back national championships in 2001 and 2002. In 2010, Whipple earned her master’s degree from UW in Intercollegiate Athletic Leadership.

Ryan Hall – Track and Field

The U.S. long distance runner won the marathon at the 2008 United States Olympic trials. Ryan Hall then placed tenth in the Olympic marathon in Beijing. Things didn’t go so well in London. Hall was forced to drop out of the marathon after just 10 miles because of a tight hamstring. He had never quit a race before, ever. Hall graduated from Stanford University with a degree in sociology.

Candace Parker – Basketball

You may know Candace Parker from her years playing for University of Tennessee legendary Coach Pat Summitt. As a Lady Vol, Parker became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game. Parker helped the U.S. Women’s Basketball Team earn a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the USA Team did it again in London. Parker majored in sports management and minored in psychology at Tennessee.

Kerri Walsh – Beach Volleyball

Kerri Walsh and her partner Misty May-Treanor have been called “the greatest beach volleyball team of all time”. They just earned their third consecutive Olympic title in London. Walsh graduated from Stanford University with a degree in American Studies.

Molly Andersen

Molly Andersen is the Senior Strategic Communications and Brand Engagement Manager at Collegis Education. She's a passionate storyteller who believes in the power of education. Molly is responsible for creating content that educates, engages and inspires current, past and future students at Rasmussen College. 


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