UNT alumni were shining brightly this August at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio -- on the golf course and on the radio.
Rodolfo Cazaubon, a former member of the UNT golf team who now plays on the Web.com tour, was the only golfer in the Olympic tournament representing Mexico. Cazaubon, who attended UNT from 2009 to 2013 and won three tournaments his senior year, overcame a rocky start in the opening round at the Olympics to move into a tie for 16th place heading into the final day of competition. He finished in the middle of the 60-player field. Men's golf had not been part of the Olympics since 1904.
And Ted Emrich ('09), formerly with KESN-FM, ESPN Radio in Dallas, was chosen by Westwood One Sports, a radio network, to announce the play-by-play for track and field events in Rio, his third Olympics assignment. He was a general assignment reporter for the 2012 games in London announcing about a dozen sports -- everything from archery and beach volleyball to diving and weightlifting. Then at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, he covered freestyle skiing, snowboarding and four-man bobsled.
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"I always wanted to do play-by-play," says Emrich, who earned his degree in radio, television and film, now media arts, and was a student in the Honors College. "I was drawn to the energy of sports, and I wanted to be the person who could share that with an audience."
Emrich says the track and field competition in Rio was full of "so many iconic moments" -- from the "sheer magnetism" of sprinter Usain Bolt, who won an unprecedented three gold medals in his three events, and Team USA's sweep of the women's sprint hurdles, to the "iron will" of British distance runner Mo Farah, who went on to win gold in the men's 10,000 meter run after falling on the tenth lap.
"I was proud to just witness them, let alone call them," he says, adding that working with NBC Sports commentator Carol Lewis Zilli, a three-time Olympian, "was a blast."
Past UNT Olympians include:
- Dave Clark ('60), who was a member of the North Texas track and field team, competed in pole vaulting at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, after finishing third at the Olympic trials to qualify for the U.S. team. Clark competed in the medal contention round, in which Americans took gold and silver.
- Bill Schmidt ('70), who had been a walk-on member of the North Texas track and field team before winning a full scholarship, took the bronze medal in the javelin competition at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Schmidt had earned All American honors and placed second in javelin at the NCAA Championship in 1970 before graduating.
- Johnny Quinn ('06), a standout receiver and punt returner for the Mean Green football team who also competed on the track team, was a member of the U.S. four-man bobsled team at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. The team finished out of medal contention, but Quinn had already become famous internationally after getting locked in his hotel room bathroom shortly after arriving in Sochi. With no one around to let him out, Quinn punched his way out of the door, then posted a photo of it on Twitter, making international news and inspiring the hashtag #Quinning.
Two past Olympians came to UNT months or years after the closing ceremonies of their games:
- Jordan Malone, a Denton native, won two medals for men's short-track speedskating 5,000-meter relay -- bronze at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Malone attended UNT for the 2014-15 academic year.
- David Hill, a faculty member in UNT's Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation since 1988, represented his native Canada in track and field at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Hill competed in the 1,500-meter run and reached the semifinals before an unfortunate fall after a collision with another runner ended his chance for a medal. His attempt at a comeback at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow ended after Canada joined the U.S. and several other nations in boycotting the games. Hill, now a Regents Professor in his department, co-directs UNT's Applied Physiology Laboratory, where he and other faculty and students study the effects of intense exercise and athletic competition on the human body.