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Syracuse Olympic Athletes

The Orange have a rich history at the Summer Olympics.
Carmello Anthony and Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73, H’24 smiling for a photo together.

Basketball legends Carmelo Anthony (left) and Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73, H’24 at the 2012 London Games.

Syracuse is proud of its rich Olympic tradition. Of our more than 50 Summer Olympians since 1900, half have medaled. Some have appeared in multiple Olympiads; others have contributed as coaches and torchbearers, like Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73, H’24 and Gene Mills ’81, G’98, respectively. Common among all of them is an unwavering commitment to teamwork, discipline and resiliency.

Here are some Olympians who have proudly worn Orange:

Carmelo Anthony and Jim Boeheim

Carmello Anthony jumping on a basketball court.

Basketball standout Carmelo Anthony helped lead the Orange to the 2003 national championship under the guidance of Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73, H’24. The duo repeated their success with Team USA, winning gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Anthony also won a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Games. Both retired in 2023—Anthony, as a 10-time NBA All-Star, and Boeheim, as the second-winningest coach in NCAA men’s basketball history.

Jenna Caira

Jenna Caira in Syracuse uniform wearing a softball mitt.

Eujenna “Jenna” Afrodite Caira ’12 was one of the world’s fastest pitchers when she joined Softball Canada in 2009. The Toronto native guided her country to a bronze medal performance at the 2020 Tokyo Games and to victories at the Pan American Games and World Championships. The Syracuse All-American and two-time team captain still owns many career records, including most strikeouts (1,000), most wins (97) and lowest earned run average (1.87). In 2023, she was the first former softball player to have her jersey retired by the Orange.

Tom Darling

Tom Darling headshot.

Three-time Olympian Tom Darling ’81 is rowing royalty. After boycotting the 1980 Moscow Games, he won the silver in the men’s eight at the 1984 Los Angeles Games and placed fifth in the men’s four at the 1988 Seoul Games. Darling also was a grinder for the Stars and Stripes, winner of the 1987 America’s Cup. Today, the world-champion masters rower is a pioneer of adaptive rowing efforts, having directed para rowing for the United States Rowing Association.

Anna Goodale

Anna Goodale posing for a photo.

When Anna Goodale ’05 joined women’s rowing as a walk-on, the future team captain and Soladay Award winner could not anticipate the impact she’d have on the sport. Goodale made headlines in 2008, picking up the gold in the women’s eight at the Beijing Games. The three-time All-American also garnered four world championships, including a 2006 world record. She has since embarked on a successful coaching career and, in 2021, was part of the first cohort of former female student-athletes to have their jerseys retired at Syracuse.

Gene Mills

Gene Mills running.

Nicknamed “Mean Gene, the Pinning Machine,” wrestler Gene Mills ’81, G’98 boasts a lifetime record that’s virtually unrivaled: 1,356 wins (866 of which were by falls), 46 losses and 1 tie. Yet, the Orange’s only four-time All-American missed out on his ultimate prize by boycotting the 1980 Moscow Games. He subsequently was named the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athlete of the Year and served as a torchbearer for the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. The two-time NCAA champion later coached for Syracuse and USA Wrestling and became a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Jason Morris

Jason Morris standing in a karate outfit.

Judo champion Jason Morris competed in the 1988 Seoul Games; the 1992 Barcelona Games, where he won a silver medal; the 1996 Atlanta Games; and the 2000 Sydney Games. The Syracuse All-American also was a fixture at the Pan American Games, earning gold medals in 1987 and 1991 and a silver medal in 1995. A member of the USA Judo Hall of Fame, Morris coached Team USA to success at the 2008 Beijing Games. He also runs a judo center in downstate New York and has contributed to Real Judo magazine.

Myer Prinstein

Myer Prinstein posing for a photo.

The University can trace its involvement with the Olympics to Myer Prinstein, a member of the class of 1902. Arguably the world’s greatest horizontal jumper at the turn of the 20th century, he grabbed four gold medals and one silver at the 1900 Paris Games, the 1904 St. Louis Games and the 1906 Athens Games (aka the Intercalated Games). His 1904 triple jump was so remarkable that 80 years passed before another American, Al Joyner, captured the title. Prinstein also captained track and field and played basketball for the Orange.

Katie Zaferes

Katie Zaferes with her hands up.

The conditions surrounding Katie Zaferes’ involvement in the 2020 Tokyo Games were unusual—a pandemic, the unexpected death of her father, a major tropical storm, her 30th birthday celebration. Still, the 2012 graduate secured a third-place finish and a bronze medal in the women’s triathlon (individual and mixed relay, respectively), making her the first Syracuse alumnus to twice-medal in the same Games in 85 years. Zaferes also won the 2019 World Championships at the Lausanne Grand Final in Switzerland, placing first in five of eight World Triathlon Series races—despite recovering from a bike crash.

All images courtesy of Syracuse University Athletics except for Myer Prinstein’s, which is provided by University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries.

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