Michigan the Olympics

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1984 - Los Angeles

Eight of the nine U of M athletes who competed for the U.S. in Los Angeles came home with medals. Steve Fraser won the first ever U.S. gold medal in greco-roman wrestling. Dick Kimball got another chance to coach the U.S. diving team and saw his son Bruce win the silver medal in platform diving. Ron Merriott placed third in 3 meter diving. Chris Seufert persevered following the disappointment of Moscow to win the bronze medal in the women's three meter. Cyclist Mark Gorski, who also had qualified for the 1980 U.S. team, won a gold medal in the 1000 meter sprint event.

Steve Fraser   Mark Gorksi
       Steve Fraser                                     Mark Gorski

The boycott of the of Los Angeles games by Soviet Bloc nations may have diluted the Greco-Roman wrestling competition somewhat--they did win 23 of 30 medals at Moscow in 1980, but Fraser' coach insisted he would have won the 198-pound class anyway. Fraser got to the finals by upsetting three-time world champion Frank Anddersson of Sweden. In the championship match against Ilie Matei of Romania, Fraser gave up an early takedown. Trailing 1-0 in the final period, Fraser scored a takedown with less than 40 seconds remaining to tie the score. In Greco-Roman wrestling, the last point scored wins, so suddenly it was Fraser's match to lose. He recalled thinking, "I had it if I just didn't slip or fall or make a stupid mistake." He fended off Matie's frantic efforts to win the first ever U.S. medal in the sport. He did a back flip at center mat when the referee declared him the winner and then broke down in tears of joy and relief in an emotional medal stand ceremony.

Chris
Seufert   Bruce Kimball   Ron Merriott
Chris Seufert,  Bruce Kimball,  Ron Merriott


Barry Larkin won a silver in baseball, an exhibition sport, and U OF M alumnus Greg Barton placed third in the 1000 meter kayaking event. Brian Diemer's bronze in the 3000 meter steeplechase was the first Wolverine medal in track and field for the U.S. since Eddie Tolan's double gold in 1932. Carl Schueler, a graduate student in the School of Natural Resources, represented the U.S. in the 50 kilometer walk race, finishing in sixth place. Doug Herland, former coach of the U-M rowing team, served as coxswain on the U.S. pairs team that won a bronze medal.

Barry
Larkin  Brian Diemer   Greg Barton
Barry Larkin, Brian Diemer, Greg Barton

Michigan was represented by swimmers Fernando Canales of Puerto Rico, Benoit Clement and Melinda Copp of Canada and Alejandro Alvizuri of Peru. In his second Olympics, Canales raced in three freestyle events but did not place. Clement swam the qualifying rounds for Canada's 4x200 meter freestyle relay team but did not race in the finals. Copp was Michigan's first women's varsity swimmer to compete in the Olympics. She finished sixth in her heat in the 200 meter backstroke, 19th overall. Alvizuri, who would compete for U OF M 1986-1989, swam the 100 and 200 meter backstroke but did not place in either. U of M swimming coach Jon Urbanchek was an assistant coach for the U.S. team.

Fernando Canales Benoit Clement Melinda Copp Alejandro Alvizuri
Fernando Canales,  Benoit Clement,  Melinda Copp,  Alejandro Alvizuri

Diane Ratnick
Diane Ratnick


Diane Ratnik played only year of varsity volleyball at U-M, but as a freshman in 1981 she helped bring the team its first Big Ten Tournament championship. She was a middle player for the 1984 Canadian Olympic team that finished 8th. Ratnik went on to serve as captain of th e Canadian National Team, 1985-1988 and made another Olympic appearance in 1996, this time as a setter.



The U-M Results - 1984

Steve Fraser
   greco-roman wrestling1st
Mark Gorski
   cycling, 1000 m. sprint1st
Barry Larkin
   baseball2nd
Bruce Kimball
   platform diving2nd
Chris Seufert
   3 meter diving3rd
Ron Merriott
   3 meter diving3rd
Doug Herland
   pairs with coxswain3rd
Fernando Canales (Puerto Rico)
   100 m. freestyle19th
   200 m. freestyle37th
   4x100 m. free. relay14th
Benoit Clement (Canada)
   4x200 m. free. relayraced in qualifying rounds, advanced to finals
Melinda Copp (Canada)
   200 m. backstroke19th
Alejandro Alvizuri (Peru)
   100 m. backstroke6th in heat
   200 m. backstroke6th in heat
Brian Diemer
   3000 m. steeplechase3rd
Carl Schueler
   50 km. walk6th
Greg Barton
   1000 m. kayaking3rd
Diane Ratnik (Canada)
   volleyball8th
Dick Kimball
   coach of U.S. diving team
Jon Urbanchek
   assistant coach of U.S. swimming team

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