For each athlete, you can vote in the poll; it closes a week from today at midnight. After the jump, you can read the athlete profiles written up by our commenters, and discuss in the comments your memories of each athlete and which one deserves to move on. (Check out the full bracket here. To check out the original nomination thread, click here. For those who want to track the CGB Hall of Fame posts exclusively, click here or right next to the timestamp above where it says "Hall of Fame".)
#1 Natalie Coughlin
11 Olympic Medals
3 Olympic Gold medals
Holds numerous US records and set numerous world records
I was planning on putting some of her sweet Olympic backstroke races, but NBC, being the total dicks they are about copyright, pulled them all off YouTube. Great job fellas. Way to promote your athletes. So I'm left with this article about the physics/fluid dynamics of dolphin kicks which Coughlin is famous for using off the turns, and an even cooler video of a female swimmer simulation (probably Coughlin?) of the fluid dynamics of the kick.
Twist once did a fine YouTube Thursday post on her (for the 4th of July!) which includes some interviews, highlights and training tips. He also showed Coughlin's pre-Beijing profile, which includes her NCAA accolades at Cal. Check it out below.
Event: Women's Swimming - Freestyle/Backstroke/IM
Hometown: Vallejo, Calif.
Years at Cal: 2001-04
Arguably the greatest female swimmer in Cal history, Coughlin won 12 NCAA titles with the Golden Bears (the second-most career titles for a women's swimmer in NCAA history). She was a three-time NCAA and Pac-10 Swimmer of the Year. Her success only grew more after her collegiate tenure. At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Coughlin became the third American woman to win five medals at one Olympics (the others are Mary Lou Retton and Shannon Miller). She took gold in the 100-meter backstroke and the 800 freestyle relay, breaking the world record in that event. Coughlin also won silver medals in the 400 free relay and the 400 medley relay, and a bronze in the 100 free. At the 2008 Olympic Trials, Coughlin lowered her world record in the 100 back to 58.97. In addition, she finished second in both the 100 free (53.83) and 200 individual medley (2:10.32).
I predict you already have a solid appreciation of who Natalie Coughlin is. Although it states her hometown is the Valley Jo. I always thought it was Concord.
Also, she's one of our many athletes on Twitter! Everyone who saw her Olympic profile knows she's grown huge on the cooking thing to keep her from going crazy during all the swimming training. Thus, posts like "Fava bean puree on garlic toast, dungeness crab/avoc/beet salad, saffron chick w/ parm pudding, & cheese tart w/ blueberry lemon cream" "Making dinner. Just when I thought I had nothing to eat...found frozen artichokes in freezer. Voilà: artichoke-lemon risotto!" are not the least bit surprising!
#8 Kevin Johnson
Despite excelling at two sports in high school, Johnson decided to play basketball exclusively at the collegiate level, and accepted a scholarship to play basketball for the University of California at Berkeley. Playing all four seasons, Johnson ended his college basketball career in 1987 as the school's all-time leader in assists, steals, and scoring (since eclipsed by Lamond Murray). He was also the first player in the Pac-10 Conference to post a "triple-double" in the statistics, and he was named to the Pac-10's all-conference First Team in both his junior and senior seasons, averaging 17.2 points and 5.0 assists in his final basketball season. His number 11 is retired.
11 – Kevin Johnson
22 – Chris Washington
33 – Eddie Javius
44 – Leonard Taylor
5 – Dave Butler
I still don’t know why Butler didn’t change his # to 55. It’s a toss-up for me between KJ and Jason Kidd as far as the most entertaining player I’ve seen wear the Blue and Gold. But LT was a monster, surpassed as a Cal power forward only by Mr. Powe. Probably could have had a good NBA career if not for a dangerous neck condition.
JoshinPortland: Best player on that team. Glorious day in a packed Kips watching UCLA go down for the first time in my lifetime.
Here's the only Cal footage I could find of KJ, from the 1987 NBA Draft (starting at about 3 minutes in).
The announcers were surprised he was drafted so high at 7th. I was surprised too. He should've been drafted 3rd.