Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Pittsburgh High School Produces Two U.S. Olympians for Rio

Oakland Catholic graduates Amanda Polk and Leah Smith will be competing in this month's Olympics.

photos provided by families of Amanda Polk and Leah Smith


Pittsburgh has sent more than three dozen athletes to the Olympics in the past 117 years, but this is the first time we've heard of two going to the same games from the same high school. 

Oakland Catholic High School alumni, Amanda Polk and Leah Smith with be competing in the Summer Olympics in Rio.

“It is pretty special to have two gals from the same high school competing in the Olympics. It’s pretty impressive, we’re excited,” Oakland Catholic Athletic Director, Mary Pat Bielich said.


Polk, who graduated from Oakland Catholic in 2004, is a member of the U.S. Women’s Rowing team and will be competing in the women’s eight. She has been a member of the senior squad since 2013 and was a reserve for the 2012 London Olympics. Polk and the rest of the eight-woman team have won gold at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Rowing World Championships.


Smith, Oakland Catholic Class of 2013,  is currently attending University of Virginia and will be competing in three Olympic swimming events: the 400m freestyle, the 800m freestyle relay and the 400m freestyle relay. This will be Smith’s first Olympics games after narrowly missing the cut in 2012. She arrives in Rio after first-place finishes in the 800m freestyle relay at the FINA World Championships and the 400m and 800m freestyle relays at the 2015 University Games.

Bielich described both women as extremely driven individuals, recalling their exemplary work ethic that included 5 a.m. workouts before they attended their morning classes.

“[The] discipline and commitment they had, they went through the whole year and did very well in school. For them to be able to do that is pretty impressive.”  

Polk and Smith will be joining two fellow Pittsburghers in Rio.

Pine-Richland high school graduate Meghan Klingenberg is part of the U.S. Women's Soccer team that's entering the summer games as the three-time defending Olympic champions, and Hopewell high school alumna Christa Harmotto Dietzen is returning to the Olympics for a second time as captain of the top-ranked women's volleyball team.

The opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics is Friday.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Pittsburgh to Host Nation’s First Black Beer Festival

Day Bracey and Ed Bailey of Drinking Partners Podcast and Mike Potter of Black Brew Culture online magazine will bring 12 Black-owned breweries to Pittsburgh in August for Fresh Fest.

Coming Clean: Why We Aren't a Green City ... Yet

Pittsburgh is no longer a smoky city, but that doesn’t mean it has cleaned up its act. Pittsburgh's air quality still ranks among the worst in the nation. What steps are being taken to reduce Pittsburgh's ongoing dependence on fossil fuels?

Ultimate Comfort Food: The Joy of Dumplings

Why our dining critic thinks dumplings might be his ultimate comfort food.

Our Seven Favorite Dumplings in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, of course, is best known for the pierogi. Our love of dumplings extends beyond that, however. These seven dumplings are our favorite restaurant versions of their various styles.

The Tailor's Dumpling: Kreplach

A Pittsburgh chef and his family continue to craft a family recipe with roots in Poland.

The Pittsburgh Region's Top Dentists 2018

Our annual list, which contains 376 dentists across 11 specialities, as determined by topDENTISTS.

A Weekend Mission of Mercy in Pittsburgh

More than a thousand people come to PPG paints arena once a year for free dental care, thanks to an ambitious, all-volunteer effort.

Jump Into the River: Open Waters Beckons Strong Swimmers

It takes a strong swimmer and the right timing to dive into the three rivers. for those up to it, the difference between the pool and open water is profound.

Pirates Are Still a Long Way From a Hollywood Ending

Despite an 8-1 winning streak going into the All-Star break, the Bucs are in desperate need of a sequel, not only to win back some credibility with fans, but also to convince their owner not to sell off more pieces of the team.

National Aviary's New Renovations Make it Essential Pittsburgh

It's time to add the National Aviary to the list of local favorites you visit again and again.

PM on KD: Family City Guide 2018

PM Associate Editor Sean Collier appears on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our Family City Guide for 2018-2019.

Tom Hanks May Have Found Co-Star for Fred Rogers Film

One of the stars of FX's “The Americans” is reportedly in talks to appear in the Mister Rogers flick “You Are My Friend.”

Competitive, High-Tech Driving Range Coming to Pittsburgh

The Topgolf complex opening in Bridgeville features a driving range with microchipped golf balls that score themselves, plus plenty of food and drink options.

The Eight Best Frozen Treats in Pittsburgh

Our dining critic picks his favorite ice cream, ice pop, frozen custard, vegan delight and more.

5 Great Ways to Enjoy Picklesburgh

The city’s fourth annual pickle festival will feature more food, more music and even pickle-inspired beers.