by Daniel Olsen
Since March is Women’s History Month, we will be focusing on the great women in the sports history of the Beehive State. This week’s feature is Logan Tom.
Few women involved in high school athletics in the state of Utah have been as successful as Logan Tom. She set records for Highland High School, starred at Stanford and won Olympic medals. For International Women’s Day tomorrow, there is no better athlete to honor this week than Tom. Here is a look back on how she achieved the greatness deserving of being a Utah Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
Setting Records at Highland High School
While Tom was born in Napa, California, she later made the move to Salt Lake City, Utah. That is where starred for the Highland Rams on the volleyball team. She was coached by Kim Norman. She was involved in several sports growing up as the child of Melvyn Tom, a former NFL defensive end for the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
Tom started out slowly but quickly discovered her talent for volleyball. She set the state record for career kills. It was later broken when the UHSAA moved to a best-of-five format. Even then, she is still second all-time in the prep leaderboard.
Tom, under the leadership of Coach Norman, helped the Highland Rams win back-to-back state titles in 1997 and 1998. She returned in 2000 to have her jersey retired and her coach was the one to spearhead that celebration. Her successful career was just getting started and would accelerate faster than she could have ever imagined.
Life in College at Stanford
Tom had to master the same challenge that every student athlete faces. She had to balance her school, athletics and the Olympics on top of that. She became the youngest American ever to be selected for the US National team at the age of 19.
Tom had to focus on leading Stanford to victory at the same time she was focusing on helping her country in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney Australia. Although the USA would not win a medal that year, Tom’s success in the college and Olympic ranks did not go unnoticed.
Tom was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1999. She was also a first-team All-American, which is something that only three true freshman before her had achieved. She led the Cardinal to a runner-up finish to Penn State.
In 2000, Tom had to take a break during a month and a half of the season to pursue her Olympic career. She came back and didn’t skip a beat. She recorded an impressive 16 game double-digit kill streak to lead Stanford to an impressive season. Although they suffered a second round exit at the hands of UC Santa Barbara, one could hardly call this year a “sophomore slump” after Tom balanced her time her college and Olympic teams. It was an unprecedented feat that showed how truly special her talent was.
Tom finally got to taste victory in her junior year when she led the Cardinal to an NCAA title over a Long Beach State team that was undefeated at the time. For her efforts, she was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Championship. She had 25 kills in the win.
Tom finished her college career early as she decided to leave college with 50 credits left to complete on her major. She led the Cardinal to a second place finish to the USC Trojans to cap off her college career.
Bringing home Olympic Medals
Following her college career, Tom again went to the Olympics in 2004. She played in the city where the first Olympics were held in 1896: Athens, Greece. She did her best to help the team but once again the USA fell just short of a medal.
In 2008, the third time was finally the charm. Tom earned a silver medal for her efforts on the U.S Volleyball Women’s National team. While Brazil won the gold, the USA team gave a valiant effort to represent their country. The home country also took home a medal as China earned the bronze.
The silver lining was the same in 2012 when Tom took home another Silver Medal at the Summer Olympics in London. Once again Brazil took home the title while the USA took second. A team from the Asian continent once again took home the bronze but this time it was Japan.
Life after volleyball
After her Olympic career, Tom continued to play on different club teams around the world. She also developed her own online coaching presence as she founded Volleyball 1on1. She was a pioneer not only for women’s volleyball, but women’s athletics in general in the Beehive State. She proved that with hard work, anyone can achieve success in a talent they are passionate about.
Featured image courtesy Getty Images