Olympians Lanny Bassham (1976) and Doug Russell (1968)

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Count UT Arlington alumni Doug Russell and Lanny Bassham among the select group of athletes who’ve experienced the thrill of winning an Olympic gold medal. At the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, Russell upset legendary swimmer Mark Spitz in the 100-meter butterfly. His 55.9 set an Olympic record and fell just 0.3 seconds shy of Spitz’s world record. Russell, who set five NCAA marks and won nine national championships at UT Arlington, earned more gold in 1968 as part of the 400-meter individual medley relay. He held or shared three world records and was named an All-American 18 times. Bassham, a 1969 UT Arlington graduate, shot his way to a gold medal in the small-bore rifle competition at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. A scoring controversy delayed the results for five hours, but officials eventually ruled Bassham the winner on a tiebreaker. During the medal ceremony, he invited runner-up Margaret Murdock, also of the United States, to join him on the gold medal platform. The gesture remains one of the most magnanimous in Olympic history. Bassham also earned a silver medal in the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He was a favorite in 1980 but was denied the chance to compete when the United States boycotted the Moscow Games.

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