Despite super bacteria and a host of other concerns, the Rio Olympics are happening. At 7 p.m. this evening, the opening ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games will get underway. Part of the ceremony is the entrance of each and every country. Picking who carries in the flag of each respective country isn’t always an easy decision. Swimmer/merman Michael Phelps will carry the flag for the United States tonight even if not everybody is behind the choice.
While Cincinnati is part of the US of A, its still worth wondering: who would UC send as its flag bearer if it were its own country? Let’s take a look at the nominees.
Gary Clark, Basketball
The 6-’8" soon-to-be junior may just be the most universally adored athlete on Cincinnati’s campus right now. The American Athletic Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year and second-team all-conference selection led the Bearcats in rebounds (8.8 pg) and blocks (1.5 pg) while scoring 10.4 points per game last season.
Kelly Latimer, Soccer
While Latimer graduated in 2016, her game-winning penalty kick against USF in the AAC title game last fall was the highlight of the 2015-16 athletic season for UC.
Adrian Valles, Track and Field
A pole-vaulter from Pamplona, Spain, Valles may not be competing in the actual Olympics, but he would be a fine choice to lead UC into an international competition. Named UC’s 2015-16 Male Athlete of the Year by the UC athletic department, Valles has school records for days and won the most recent AAC indoor and outdoor titles.
Jacqueline Keire, Swimming
The best dang freestyle swimmer in the AAC, Keire has won the league’s Outstanding Female Swimmer award in back-to-back years and earned honorable mentioned All-American honors in the 100-meter freestyle this past season. She also holds school records in the 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle, 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and 100 individual medley.
Jordan Thompson, Volleyball
Who cares if she was just a freshman this past season, Thompson’s dominance on the court was incredible to watch. She was an All-AAC first-team selection and won the league’s Freshman of the Year award after finishing with 459 kills, the second-most by a UC freshman. She also was one of three Bearcats to be invited to tryout for the US National Team.
Erika Hurd, Track and Field
Like Latimer, Hurd graduated already, but it seems crazy to leave off the winner of UC’s Female Athlete of the Year award. A four-time All-American, Hurd competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials in early July but missed the cut.
Andrew Zellner, Baseball
Baseball isn’t an Olympic sport right now, but it will make a return soon. Perhaps the Bearcats would want to give that decision the stamp of approval by sending ace and First-Team All-AAC pitcher Zellner out waving the UC flag high.