Logan Tom has tasted the thrill of winning championships at every level -- except one. The only thing still missing in her volleyball career is a gold medal.
That all could finally change for Tom if Team USA prevails in the gold-medal match. The United States earned a berth into the women's volleyball final by defeating South Korea 25-20, 25-22, 25-22 in the semifinals on Thursday, Aug. 8. Tom came up with the winning shot to bury the Koreans after they rallied from a 13-7 deficit in the third set to tie it at 20-20.
If Tom can come through with gold in her fourth Olympic appearance, it will serve as a most satisfying exclamation point on a storied career.
It all began as a teenager. Tom starred on a pair of state championship volleyball teams at Highland High in Salt Lake City. She set state records in both career kills and service aces and earned a scholarship to Stanford.
Tom took things to a new level of dominance in college. She led the Cardinal to the NCAA championship match three times from 1999 to 2002. Tom was named the National Player of the Year as a junior and a senior. Her greatest accomplishment came in her junior season, in 2001, when she led Stanford to an NCAA championship with a victory over No. 1-ranked Long Beach State. Tom set a school record with 1,939 career kills in her four years at Stanford and ranked second all-time in service aces.
With that background, Tom seemed destined to be a star for Team USA. She became the youngest woman to be named to the team when she joined at 19 years old in 2000.
Tom has been the sort of star Team USA envisioned during more than a decade of national competition. She was the leading scorer for the United States in helping her team claim a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Destinee Hooker has since emerged as the go-to scorer in London and led Team USA with 123 points going into its semifinal match.
Tom may be scoring less, but her role has not diminished in importance. She has provided some clutch defensive play at times and offered veteran leadership to a young team. Her teammates credit her with being the glue that holds the team together. Off the court, Tom is a free spirit who likes to party, drink scotch, and hit the great outdoors. On the court, she is focused and determined to help the United States live up to its No. 1 world ranking.
Team USA is on the cusp of finally claiming that elusive gold medal in women's volleyball. Tom deserves a ton of credit for getting the team to that point.
John Coon has covered multiple Olympic sports, including volleyball, as a reporter in Salt Lake City. He has also been a lifelong fan of volleyball and attends matches whenever he gets the chance.
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