2016 Rio Olympics

Everything you need to know about Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Murphy


Everything you need to know about Olympic gold-medal swimmer Ryan Murphy

As a kid, Ryan Murphy’s dream was to be the best swimmer in the world. That dream came true when he won the gold medal in three events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Murphy was born in Palos Heights and one of his early school assignments was to make a “dream book” about his goals for the future. In it, he wrote “I hope my swimming life continues and I become an Olympian when I grow up. I hope I will break the world records. I want to be the best swimmer in the world.”

Murphy’s path from kid with a dream to Olympic gold medalist began with a simple love of being in the water on a hot day.

“My path to swimming was just that it was really hot in the summer and so we’d go to the community pool and that’s kind of how I got my start,” Murphy said.

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Murphy’s family moved to Jacksonville, Fla., where he graduated from Bolles School. According to his Team USA bio, his rooting interests represent both of his hometowns. He’s a fan of the Bulls, Cubs and Jacksonville Jaguars.

He went to the other coast to swim at the University of California, Berkeley. Murphy already had international success with medals at the 2011 World Junior Swimming Championships and the 2011 Pan American Games. Once at Cal, Murphy dominated backstroke.

Murphy won both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke all four years of college. As a freshman, he helped Cal win the team title in 2014 and finished second each of the following three years.

Three months after the 2016 NCAA Championships, he took part in the U.S. Olympic Trials. There, Murphy booked his spot in the Rio Olympics. He won the 100 and 200-meter backstroke, earning a spot on the 4x100-meter medley relay.

At 21 years old, Murphy went 3-for-3 in his first Olympics. He won both backstroke events and helped the relay team win gold. Murphy’s 100-meter backstroke time of 51.97 seconds was an Olympic record and he set a world-record split (51.85 seconds) in the medley relay.

When he first stepped onto the medal podium in Rio, Murphy had a flashback of the kid who dreamed of being in the Olympics.

“I was thinking of my younger self watching the Olympics and what that looked like on TV,” Murphy said. “That was kind of my thought when I was up there. I was flashing back to watching the NBC broadcast.”

After winning three Olympic medals, Murphy returned to Cal for his senior year to complete his dominance of the NCAA Championships in backstroke. He has also racked up 17 medals at Worlds (seven of them gold), with nine in long course and eight in short course. Now, the 24-year-old is prepping for a return to the Olympics.

“I think the Olympics are a very powerful sporting event,” Murphy said. “It was an absolutely incredible experience being a part of it in ‘16 and hopefully, I’ll be there in 2020.”

See more from Murphy in the video above.

Nikola Mirotic, Spain advance to quarterfinals at Olympics

Nikola Mirotic, Spain advance to quarterfinals at Olympics

Spain's comeback from an 0-2 start at the Olympics is complete.

The Spaniards, featuring Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic, beat Argentina 92-73 on Monday to complete group play with a 3-2 record.

After losing the first two group matches by a combined three points, Spain had its back against the wall for the remainder of group play. Even after a 50-point win against previously undefeated Lithuania on Saturday, the Spaniards still entered Monday's Group B finale needing to win to avoid a surprising early elimination.

Mirotic scored 10 points on 3-9 shooting. He had six rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block. Former Bull Pau Gasol had 19 points and 13 rebounds. Another former Bull, Andres Nocioni, followed up his 37-point effort against Brazil with just six points in the loss for Argentina.

Both teams advanced to the quarterfinals with 3-2 records in group play.

The final game in Group B decided Team USA's quarterfinal opponent. Croatia beat Lithuania 90-81 to create a four-way tie at 3-2 in the group. That means the Americans face a tough quarterfinal against Argentina on Wednesday.

Brazil and Nigeria were eliminated on Monday. The host Brazilians beat Nigeria 86-69 earlier on Monday with Bulls center Felicio scoring two points with six rebounds and two assists in 16 minutes.

Javier Baez celebrates Monica Puig winning Puerto Rico's first gold medal


Javier Baez celebrates Monica Puig winning Puerto Rico's first gold medal

Puerto Rico's Monica Puig surprised the tennis world by winning the gold medal in women's singles at the Olympics.

After she beat Germany's Angelique Kerber in the final on Saturday the celebration was on for her and her country, which had never won a gold medal before.

Cubs infielder Javier Baez, who was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, joined in on the celebration on Instagram with a photo of Puig and a pro-Puerto Rico caption.

The Olympics were a breakout tournament for the 22-year-old Puig, who entered the tournament ranked 34th in the world. She's only made it past the third round in one major tournament, 2013 Wimbledon when she lost in the fourth round, but knocked off two top-five players en route to Olympic glory. Puig beat No. 3 seed Garbiñe Muguruza in the third round before knocking off world No. 2 Kerber in the final.

Puig was clearly emotional after her win. She draped herself in a Puerto Rican flag to show her country pride.

Cubs fans and Baez will both be hoping that he can bring some extra accolades in the name of Puerto Rico later this year.