Eastern Michigan's Eric Alejandro, representing Puerto Rico, made it to the semifinals of the 400-meter hurdles in the 2012 Olympics.
To summarize, here is the official MAC olympics medal table for the 2012 Games:
|Southern Illinois swimming||0||0||0||0|
That's ... hey, everybody tied! Pats on the back!
In honesty, I don't particularly care that the MAC didn't earn any medals. It's actually very cool that seven different MAC athletes participated, each representing a different country. But I'm wondering if the schools can't do more to improve their standing in Olympic events. Of the 12 full-time MAC schools, only five have men's track and field, and four sponsor men's swimming (hence Southern Illinois, Missouri State and Evansville as affiliate MAC members). Nine have men's golf, five have men's soccer, and five play women's field hockey (with Missouri State as the sixth team).
It would be silly to demand better MAC Olympic sports for the sole hope of winning gold medals. But diversifying one's sport portfolio (or "sportfolio," if you want to be a twerp) can only improve the conference. I'm actually a little curious if American football is going to survive as it exists in the next 10 or 20 years, but that's not the only reason to proliferate different types of competition.
You saw how cool some of those sports were in the Olympics. And people are interested in them. Events like water polo and archery will never turn into big-money sports leagues but people do care, so I hope the MAC can someday soon give these other sports a look and encourage some of their members to sensibly invest in them.
What Olympic sport would you like to see the MAC sponsor?
Archery/shooting (3 votes)
Badminton (0 votes)
Fencing (8 votes)
Handball (15 votes)
Judo/taekwondo (3 votes)
Water polo (7 votes)
Table tennis (3 votes)
39 total votes