Six Miami Hurricanes competed for their countries during the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. UM alumnus Sam Dorman competed for USA’s diving team and won the silver medal along with teammate Mike Hixon in men’s 3-meter synchronized diving.
“It’s unreal to have this happen,” Dorman told NBC after his final dive. “To see my family, to see my coach and have them just tear up and me tear up … It was very touching.”
Dorman performed well despite water quality issues and the rain overhead, making the accomplishment even more impressive. After his dive, Dorman threw up the “U” to the NBC cameras while his coach, UM head diving coach Randy Ableman, made the iconic gesture from the sidelines.
Sophomore Marcela Maric competed for the Croatian diving team, UM alumna Heather Arseth swam for the East African island of Mauritius, redshirt junior Catalina Pérez was the backup goalkeeper for the Colombian national soccer team and UM alumnae Murielle Ahouré and Alysha Newman both competed in track and field events for their respective countries, Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Canada.
Dorman was the only Cane to win a medal at these games. Maric did not make it past the preliminary competition for women’s 3-meter springboard. Arseth competed in the women’s 100-meter freestyle but did not qualify for the semifinals. Pérez, with the Colombian soccer team, was eliminated in the group stage in women’s soccer.
Earlier this year, Newman broke the Canadian pole vault record and had one of the top five vaults in the world, but in Rio, she missed three attempts at the 4.55 meter vault and failed to qualify for the final. She described her Olympic debut as “bittersweet” on her Instagram page, but will take Rio as a learning experience.
“[The competition] has given me nothing but motivation to keep rising and maturing in the sport that I love,” Newman wrote in a photo caption. “I am so honored to represent my country and I’m so thankful for all the support I’ve gotten along the way!”
Ahouré ran with the best in the women’s 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. She finished fourth in both of her semifinal heats, missing out on an opportunity to run alongside countrywoman Marie-Josee Ta Lou in the finals.
Regardless of their scores or times, these young Olympians were included among the best of the best in Rio. They were able to not only represent their countries but the University of Miami as well.