To be at the top of your game means to be truly great. Which Ohio State athletes are great enough to be placed on a Mount Rushmore of Buckeye athletics?
The Ohio State University has produced a ridiculous amount of great athletes in its history. Football is the most well-known sport and the most followed, but there have been some truly great Buckeye athletes in all sports the university has to offer.
Mount Rushmore is a symbol of greatness for four presidents in our country. It’s a common landmark to describe greatness in sport as well. To be on a Mount Rushmore of sports means you have done something truly great that deserves to be recognized.
Deciding who would be on a Mount Rushmore of Ohio State athletics is an incredibly tough task. The university has 30 varsity sports to choose from when compiling the four best athletes in the entire athletics department. That is a lot of athletes to choose from.
Nevertheless, I have chosen four athletes that I believe belong on the Mount Rushmore of Ohio State athletics. The first one I chose was a no-brainer and by far the easiest choice on this list. That first athlete is the famous Jesse Owens.
Owens is perhaps the most famous track and field athlete in history. While at Ohio State, he won an incredible 8 individual NCAA titles. In 1935, he broke 3 world records and tied a fourth in the span of just 45 minutes while competing in the Big Ten meet.
Owens would go onto the 1936 Berlin Olympics and win 4 gold medals in front of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, spoiling what Hitler had hoped would be a sweep of German victories. Because of what Owens did in those Olympics, he is known all over the world.
The second athlete I chose for Mount Rushmore is simply known as the Golden Bear. Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer in the history of the game, and it all started at Ohio State. He won the 1961 NCAA championship and won the U.S. Amateur in 1959 and 1961.
Nicklaus would go on to win a record 18 majors on the PGA Tour, a record that still stands today. Nicklaus also won an astounding 73 tournaments on the PGA Tour, which is third all-time. He is still by far the greatest golfer in the history of Ohio State golf.
The third spot on this Mount Rushmore goes to the only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy, Archie Griffin. Griffin won back-to-back Heismans in 1974 and 1975 as a running back under famed coach Woody Hayes.
In those two Heisman seasons, he rushed for 1,695 yards and 1,490 respectively. He also scored a total of 16 touchdowns between those two seasons and led the Big Ten in rushing twice. He is one of only two college players to start in four straight Rose Bowls.
Griffin is widely considered one of the greatest college football players of all-time and is still the only two-time winner of that famed Heisman trophy. He is the greatest Ohio State football player of all-time and deserves this spot on this Mount Rushmore.
The last athlete was a really tough decision. There are so many good options to choose from. But the spot goes to Kyle Snyder, who is the greatest wrestler the Buckeyes have ever produced. He is the youngest athlete to grace the Mout Rushmore of Ohio State athletics as he is still just 24.
Snyder won 3 individual national championships while wrestling for the Buckeyes and added a team national championship is freshman season. Snyder went an incredible 75-5 in his four years at Ohio State and won World Championships in his freshman and junior years in 2015 and 2017.
In between those Wold Championship gold medals, he won a gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a sophomore. He became the youngest American wrestling champion at the age of 20.
These four athletes are who I deemed the best in Ohio State history, but there are some other athletes worth mentioning too. Kelsey Mitchell is one of the best women’s basketball players ever to play for the Buckyes, being a Second Team All-American three times and First-Team once.
Mitchell averaged 24.5 points per game over her four years at Ohio State and was named the Big Ten Player of the Year three times as well. Her stellar college career led her to be the number 2 overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever.
On the men’s side, Evan Turner deserves mention for his time on the OSU basketball team. He was a two-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and was a consensus First Team-All American in 2010. He was also the National Player of the Year in 2010.
Turner now has his number retired in the Schottenstein Center and is one of the best players to ever play for the Scarlet and Gray. He, like Mitchell, was the number two overall pick, this time in the 2010 NBA Draft.
If I missed anyone or if you think someone else deserves to be on Mount Rushmore, let me know on social media!