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MACthletes In The 2012 Olympics: How They Did


The 2012 Olympics are not quite done, but everybody who went to a MAC school that participated is done. No medals this time, but it was darn close! I get that the MAC Olympic sports do not compare to power conferences, but it was more participation than I had anticipated. So let's see how they all did for their countries:

Name: Jamie Nieto
MAC school: Eastern Michigan
Country: United States
Event: Men's high jump

Nieto, who won the high jump at USA trials, qualified 7th by jumping 2.26 meters (about 7'5") on the first try. In the finals he cleared 2.2 meters and 2.25 meters, then 2.29 meters (7'6") on his second attempt, which put him sixth because the three men who finished bronze cleared 2.29 on their first try. As a cursory MAC consolation, American Erik Kynard, a Toledo native but no MAC ties, finished with silver by jumping 2.33. At 35 years old this is probably it for Nieto in terms of the Olympics.

Name: Natalia Gaitàn
MAC school: Toledo
Country: Colombia
Event: Women's soccer

The captain of the team, Gaitan played every minute of Colombia's three games as a defender, but all three were losses: 0-2 to North Korea, 0-3 to United States, and 0-1 to France. That was some tough competition, at least: USA took gold and France finished fourth.

Name: Nate Reinking
MAC school: Kent State
Country: Great Britain
Event: Men's basketball

The oldest basketball player in London started all five games and helped Great Britain to a 1-4 record, but the lone 90-58 win over China gave the country its first Olympic win in basketball since 1948.

vs. Russia L-95-75 Reinking: 33 min, 7 pts, 3 assists, 1 rebound
vs. Brazil L 67-62 Reinking: 32 min, 13 pts, 3 rebounds
vs. Spain L 79-78 Reinking: 28 min, 5 pts, 1 assist, 1 TO
vs. Australia L 106-75 Reinking: 27 min, 9 pts, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 TO
vs. China W 90-58 Reinking: 31 min, 12 pts, 1 rebound, 1 steal, 1 assist, 1 TO

Overall, pretty awesome showing for Reinking, a MAC player so obscure I had to look him up. He's older than Geno Ford, if that tells you anything.

Name: Eric Alejandro
MAC school: Eastern Michigan
Country: Puerto Rico
Event: Men's 400-meter hurdles

Alejandro finished fourth in his heat and 20th overall with a 49.39 score, which qualified for the semifinals. In a stacked semi group, he then finished with a personal best 49.15 but was only good enough for seventh in the heat and 12th overall, missing the cutoff by almost a second.

Name: Csaba Gercsak
MAC school: Southern Illinois
Country: Hungary
Event: Men's 10K swimming marathon

I cannot imagine swimming for two hours straight, can you? But that's basically what the 10k marathon is. Laps upon laps of swimming. And the worse you are, the more you have to swim. Gercsak finished 18th out of 25 swimmers with a 1:51:30.9 time, about two-and-a-half minutes behind the winner, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia.

Name: Mazen (Metwaly) Aziz
MAC school: Southern Illinois
Country: Egypt
Event: Men's 10K swimming marathon

He goes by Aziz per his SIU bio, but Metwaly in the Olympics. Either way he finished 24th with a 1:54:33.2 time and also was issued a "warning." I'm not sure what it was for. Maybe swimming under two surnames?

Name: Richard Oruche
MAC school: Northern Illinois
Country: Nigeria
Event: Men's basketball

Like the other MAC-represented team, Nigeria went 1-4 in their group, although Oruche didn't get nearly as much playing time.

vs. Tunisia W 60-56 Oruche: 3 min, no stats
vs. Lithuania L 72-53 Oruche: 4 min, 1 rebound
vs. USA L 156-73 Oruche: 17 min, 7 pts, 2 assists, 5 TO
vs. Argentina L 93-79 Oruche: 22 min, 7 pts, 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 TO
vs. France L 79-73 Oruche: 14 min, 3 pts, 2 assists, 2 TO

He didn't start any games, but at least he got progressively more playing time. And that's all you can ask when representing #MACsketball.