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Georgia's Schmitt adds to her impressive Olympic legacy

175 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa De Olza

Georgia (five gold medals in Rio)

It was all about the USA swimming relay teams for Georgia in Rio.

Bulldog swimmers earned a total of four gold medals for Team USA: Melanie Margalis and Olympic veteran Allison Schmitt as teammates on the Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay; Olivia Smoliga on the Women's 4x100m Medley Relay; and Gunnar Bentz on the Men's 4x200m Freestyle Relay.

For Schmitt, it was another leg in an incredible Olympic career that thus far has included competing in three Summer Games and winning a total of four gold medals, including three at the 2012 Games in London. Her gold medal in the 200m freestyle in those Games was the first individual gold for a Georgia swimmer in Olympics history.

In her Olympic debut at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Schmitt won a bronze medal as a member of the Women's 4x200m Freestyle Relay team - the same event she helped the USA take gold in eight years later. She also won a silver in Rio as a member of the Women's 4x100m Freestyle Relay team.

An eight-time Olympic medalist overall, Schmitt has admitted publicly that she had to overcome severe depression in 2015 to excel in her sport and in life. She now is an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness who serves as a counselor to others.

Now 30 years old, she had hoped to compete in a fourth Olympics for the USA this summer in Tokyo before that got nixed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether or not she competes when those Games finally are held, she told the Associated Press in an interview earlier this year that she has through the years gained a greater appreciation for what she has been able to accomplish.

"I've been lucky enough to have swimming as my job, which I've loved," Schmitt told the AP. "To be able to wake up and have a passion and do your job with passion and love is what we're all striving to find."

The other Georgia athlete to earn a gold medal in Rio was Shaunae Miller in Track and Field. Competing for the Bahamas, where she was born, she took gold in the Women's 400m sprint.