Going for gold: 14 with Utah ties competing in Summer Games

Published: Thursday, July 26 2012 9:17 p.m. MDT

"The main goal for the entire team is to win gold, for sure," Tom said in a YouTube video on logantom.info. "Wearing the U.S. uniform anytime is special, but especially at the Olympics, it's so huge. I think if you ask any athlete, they have a hard time describing it with words. It's a feeling so intense, you just have a hard time describing it."

She admitted that while earning silver was bittersweet at that moment, she now realizes the magnitude of that accomplishment.

"It was huge for us," she said. "I'm very proud of that medal."

Competing in her fourth Olympic Games would not be possible without the support of her family and friends, she said.

RICH LAMBOURNE

Rich Lambourne knows exactly what it takes to reach the pinnacle of Olympic success as he was part of the U.S. gold medal volleyball squad in 2008.

And while it seems that accomplishment may raise expectations, he told NBC that it doesn't change the pressure the U.S. players put on themselves.

"I think the pressure comes internally, from the guys that were a part of that team," said the former BYU standout (1994, 1997-1999). "In my personal opinion, the great thing about winning a medal at the Olympics is that's something that you can't like mess up the rest of your career and then it gets retroactively taken away from you. You can only hopefully add on to it. So I don't think it's like, "Hey, we won it once, we need to do it again, otherwise that other one's diminished."

He said earning the sport's highest prize was a defining moment.

"It's kind of hard to quantify," said the Libero who has played professionally in half dozen countries. "The best thing I can really come up with is that it's something that anybody can relate to as far as the magnitude of that accomplishment. What I mean by that is, a few weeks before the Olympics we won the World League, which in some ways may be even a more difficult competition. But if I go, "Hey, we won the World League," that means nothing to anybody who doesn't know the ins and outs of international volleyball. But if you say, "I'm an Olympic gold medalist," everybody in the world pretty much knows that's kind of a big deal."

The win in Beijing was emotional as head coach Hugh McCutcheon's father-in-law was stabbed to death in China just before the tournament began. The U.S. defeated Brazil for the gold medal.

RUSSELL HOLMES

Playing in London will be like playing at home for U.S. volleyball team's Russell Holmes.

The 6-8 middle blocker served an LDS mission in London before beginning his standout career with the BYU volleyball team in 2004. He's been a member of the national team in 2009, a year after he graduated from BYU.

He's an Eagle Scout, married with a daughter, and enjoys surfing and snowboarding.

He's originally from Fountain Valley, Calif., and has a younger brother and an older sister. He started his athletic career as a soccer player, but switched to volleyball his junior year of high school because of his height.

At BYU, he was a redshirt freshman when the Y. won a national title, and was a part-time starter his freshman season. In his sophomore and junior seasons he earned All-American second team honors. He was named to the Mountain West's first team his senior season. After graduating from BYU in sociology, he played professionally in Austria, Brazil and Poland.

KIM SMITH

The former University of Utah standout said helping her country qualify for the Olympics eclipses any accomplishment she's enjoyed thus far.

"Earning that Olympic spot with the win over Japan was pretty overwhelming," the 28-year-old told the Vancouver Sun. "There was relief, excitement; you immediately started crying, well half-crying, half laughing, half screaming. It was, by far, the most amazing moment of my life and to do it on Canada Day in the hardest way we could was pure relief."

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