Gold medal winner Mike Conley and legendary coach John McDonnell via image.cdnllnwnl.xosnetwork.com
This is part of an SBNation series on favorite Olympic moments.
I'd like to say my favorite Olympic moment is the entire Barcelona games, but that would be cheating. I was 10 years old and remember it as a magical summer. The Dream Team was roaring, and we all knew that fellow Arkansan Scottie Pippen was a big part of it. They lit the torch via fire-arrow, which is still one of the coolest things ever. I developed one of my first crushes on one of the American gymnasts (I have no idea which one). But it also served as an education into the fabled Razorback track program. I remember watching this happen one night at the house:
Mike Conley 18.17m (via TripleJumper87)
I was excited because it looked like another gold medal and possible world record for the Americans, but Mom started getting really excited and she told me Mike Conley was a Razorback. All of a sudden we had a Hog Party. Conley stuff was in the newspaper the next several days and I read every word.
I also began asking about Arkansas' track program and began to learn that Razorback track was pretty much the best collection of track athletes on the planet. For a while the SEC even ran ads boasting of the number of national titles SEC teams have won in all sports, and like two-thirds of them were Arkansas track titles. "You're welcome, SEC."
1992 was a great time to be a kid in Arkansas. Conley won gold. The Razorback basketball team was transitioned from the MayDay squad to the team that would go on to win the national title in 1994. Pippen won gold and his second straight national title. The football team
embarrassed themselves against the Citadel and Broyles fired our coach the next day joined the SEC in football in the fall. Arkansas was even all over the national news because our governor was running for President.
Arkansas dominated college track for the next 15 years or so, and in the 2008 Olympics, we were all hopeful that former Razorback Tyson Gay would win gold in the 100 meters. Unfortunately, he got hurt and Usain Bolt went on to have a legendary performance in the games. But Gay did make the 2012 Olympic team, and I hope we get a reason to call the Hogs from London.
Doc Harper is a regular contributor to ArkansasSports360.com and ArkansasExpats.com. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his thoughts and observations on Twitter @doc_harper.
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