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Tennessee's Bartoletta doubles up on gold in Rio

175 days ago
SEC Network
Photo: AP Photo/Martin Meissner

Tennessee (three gold medals in Rio)

Tianna Bartoletta is one of only two SEC athletes who earned multiple gold medals in Rio (Caeleb Dressel, a swimmer from Florida, is the other). Bartoletta did so in a pair of Women's Track and Field events, taking an individual gold in the Long Jump and another as a member of the USA's Women's 4x100m Relay team.

The other SEC athlete from Tennessee to take gold in Rio was Tamika Catchings, the long-time WNBA star who was once again a member of the USA's Women's Basketball squad.

Bartoletta's two golds in Rio came on the heels of her first Olympic gold that she earned in the London Summer Games, also as a member of the 4x100m Relay team. She ran the leadoff leg in that event, in which the Americans set a world record (40.82).

But while success in the Olympics was no stranger to Bartoletta, that was even more true for Catchings, who captured her fourth gold medal at age 37. She earned her first Olympic gold as a member of the USA Women's Basketball team in the 2004 Summer Games in Athens - just after turning 25 and a few years removed from the Indiana Fever making her the third overall pick in the 2001 WNBA Draft.

This, of course, followed a historic career at Tennessee, where Catchings was an All-American from 1997-2001 and a member of the undefeated Lady Vols' national championship team as a freshman in 1997-98. In 2000, she was the consensus National Player of the Year.

All of which preceded her Olympic glory. Catchings also earned gold at the Summer Games in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.

"I never would have thought I'd have this opportunity to represent my country four times," Catchings told the Indianapolis Star after claiming her fourth career gold medal in Rio. "One time, that's like one in a million, you know? But to be able to be here four times, and the group that I'm with ... Winning the gold, like, this is awesome. But when we think about the sweat and the tears and the hard work we put in to get to this point, looking to left, looking to the right on that podium and seeing the flag go up, hearing the national anthem being played, that's something that you could never ... it never gets old."