Florida's Gator Nation Would Be In Top 10 Of 2012 Olympics Medal Count

The problem with a sensational headline, like the one Business Insider runs with "The University Of Florida Has More Medals Than Great Britain Right Now," is that it might be bad if the headline is wrong. Though that one technically isn't, the logic behind it is.

Florida's fictional "Gator Nation" was always going to do well at the 2012 Olympics, with UF legend/alum and Gainesville resident Ryan Lochte leading the pack in the pool and swimming for UF and U.S. Olympic coach Gregg Troy, who is also Lochte's personal coach, and over 30 other athletes with Gators ties competing for various nations.

The problem here lies, as so many do, in accounting: GatorZone, UF's official athletics site, counts 37 Gators athletes, but its criterion for counting an athlete as a Gator only requires one varsity letter at Florida. And that means that women's 100m butterfly gold medalist Dana Vollmer, who didn't make an NCAA final as a freshman at UF before transferring to Cal and resurrecting her career, counts for Florida — which seems to me to be a trick of the numbers that isn't quite fair, as I've written at Alligator Army, SB Nation's Gators blog. (Scroll down, and also check out the peril of sending out the wrong stat at one point.)

I credit Florida with three medals at the moment: Lochte's won a gold and a silver, and Elizabeth Beisel snagged her first Olympic medal, a silver, on Saturday. That's incredibly impressive on its own; it ties the Gator Nation (The Tebow Principality?) with Brazil, Australia, and North Korea for eighth in the total medal count and would tie UF for 10th with Romania in the Olympic medal count that rates golds better than silvers and silvers above bronzes. But it takes tricky counting to give Florida four medals, which would move it up some spots.

About that headline, though: not only will it be true until Britain wins more than two medals, it'll probably be true no matter what British swimmer Gemma Spofforth, the best British hope for a medal on Monday, does. She is, after all, a Gator.

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