By Brandon Cruz
The NCAA is an Olympic athlete factory, churning out the world’s best competitors in their respective sports. But not all Olympic athletes come from the SEC or Pac-12. The University of Nevada has had its fair share of athletes in the Olympic games as well.
Liu won the silver medal for China at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta Georgia, when she participated in the 100 butterfly. Liu’s arrival at UNR is mainly attributed to five-time diving coach Jian Li You’s amazing ability to recruit top tier athletes. You found a gem in Liu, because following her stellar performance in the 1996 summer Olympic games, she became one of the Nevada’s Women’s Swim and Dive team’s most important athletes. During her time at Nevada she became a three-time All-American and was named the Mountain West Swimmer of the year in the year 2000. Liu was also a three-time NCAA champion in the 200 butterfly in 1999, and the 100m and 200m butterfly in 2000. Following Liu’s impressive years at Nevada, she was later inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.
There is only one difference between someone who is successful in their field of work, and someone who isn’t. The underlying difference is hard work, because “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Australian native and Nevada alum Lisé Mackie is a prime example of an athlete with a tremendous work ethic. At 16, she had an unsuccessful debut in 1992 at the Barcelona Games, finishing ninth in the 4×100 freestyle relay. She would ultimately miss the final, and have to wait another four years to get a shot at redemption. It was then that her Olympian work ethic came into play. Mackie kicked it into high gear and trained tirelessly for the 1996 Summer Olympic games in Atlanta, Georgia, where she would end up winning a bronze medal in the 4×200 for Australia. Mackie represents what the University of Nevada wants out of all of its students: ambition, drive and progression. Mackie, too, would be inducted into the university’s Athletic Hall of Fame just one year earlier than Liu.
Brandon Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SagebrushSports