For USC Athletics, a year of championships, challenges and changes

Year in review: USC fans celebrated Olympic medals, three national championships and a couple of headline-grabbing hires that indicate a promising future.

December 31, 2021 David Medzerian

There’s no denying that 2021 was a trying year for USC’s highest-profile athletic program. But off the football field, Trojans celebrated national championships, continued an unprecedented streak of Olympic medals and celebrated some game-changing hires — including one that shook an entire sport to its core. Roll the highlights.

? USC’s Olympic tradition continues

The Tokyo Games marked the fifth consecutive Summer Olympics that USC athletes won at least 20 medals. USC continued its streak of having a Trojan win a gold medal at every Summer Olympics since 1912.

? Bringing home the trophy (three times)

The Women of Troy were victorious in the water, on the track and in the sand, adding three more national championships to USC’s collection that now stands at 133 national championships.

Several Trojans also claimed individual championships in track and field: Anna Cockrell (100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles); Isaiah Jewett (800 meters); Kaelin Roberts (400 meters); and Angie Annelus, Jasmine Jones, TeeTee Terry and Lanae-Tava Thomas (400-meter relay).

? Winners in the classroom, too

Twelve of the 19 USC sports tracked by the NCAA had a graduation success rate above 90%, including six with a perfect 100%: men’s basketball, tennis and volleyball; and women’s lacrosse, soccer, and track and field.

? A prestigious honor

Anna Cockrell became the 17th Trojan to earn a Honda Sports Award and joins Virginia Powell (2006) and Angela Williams (2002) as the only USC athletes to receive the honor for track and field.

? New facilities on the rise

USC’s track and field student-athletes shine on the international stage — and now they have a home that matches their Olympic legacy.

? Hires that turned heads

The women’s basketball team’s new coach had a stellar run at Cal before joining the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers as an assistant. And athletic director Mike Bohn pulled off the coup of the year with Lincoln Riley’s hire as head football coach.

USC 2021 | A LOOK BACK — See more of our year-end package: