I am a huge fan of the Olympic games and always have been. I become obsessed with sports I normally don't take the time to watch or read about. No matter where the athletes place in their events, or what country they are from, they all inspire me.
I am not an athlete but I have always dreamed of what being an Olympic athlete would feel like. Here are a few of the athletes I'm keeping my eyes on during the 2012 Olympic games.
Kara Goucher is a middle and long distance runner from Portland, OR. She ran the 5,000m and 10,000m in the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing but this year, in London, she will competing in the marathon. Her debut marathon was the 2008 New York City Marathon where she came in 3rd with a time of 2:25:35 (that's 5:33 minute/mile pace). That race won her the prestige of becoming the first American woman to be on the podium since 1994 and she set the record for the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman.
Lolo Jones grew up very poor and was homeless for a period of time as a child. Today she's a favorite to medal in the 100m hurdles. She went to Beijing four years ago and finished in 7th place. This was a bit of surprise considering she was named the Olympic trials champion and came in first during the game's semi finals. Following the games she struggled with a string of injuries and ended up having surgery in her spinal cord in 2011, a year from the Olympic games in London. She came in 3rd place at the Olympic trials this year and will compete in the 100m hurdles on Sunday. She's been getting some heat over a tweet she wrote:
Lolo Jones Okay, so yes there was a horrible shooting in our country not long before she tweeted this but... I never thought she was relating this to violence. I think some people took this the wrong way. Afterwards she responded to her critics with:
@lolojones: USA Men's Archery lost the gold medal to Italy but that's ok, we are Americans... When's da Gun shooting competition?
"sorry u guys only think of violence but I think of all the hunting I do w southerners in da south. Its impressive."
Misty May-Treanor & Kerri Walsh
These women need no introduction. If this is the first time you have heard of their awesomeness, even if you're not a volleyball fan, you've either lived a very sheltered life or under a soundproof rock. In any case, these women are truly amazing. They won the beach volleyball gold medal in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games. Misty has won more tournaments than any other woman with 107 career wins. Kerri played on USA team volleyball team in 2000 where they finished in 4th place. After the 2000 games, Kerri turned to beach volleyball and teamed up with Misty and quickly made their way to #1 ranking in the FIVB world tour. So far they have won both preliminary matches and I think they are playing in the finals today. I'm very excited!
Natalie is a 11-time Olympic medalist! She swam in both the 2004 and 2008 games and was the most decorated female athlete at both games. She also holds the title of the most decorated female swimmer in world championship history. To top it off, look how cute she is! In this year's games she swam in the 4x100m freestyle relay but was pulled in the final. The team finished in 3rd place to earn the bronze. I can't find her anywhere else on the Olympic schedule but I have a hard time believing that the relay is her only event. I hope I'm just reading the schedule wrong.
Shalane Flanagan is my favorite Olympian this year. She currently holds the American record for the 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m and won the bronze at the 2008 Olympic games for her 10,000m event. In 2010 she competed in her first marathon and finished in 2nd place with a time of 2:28:40 (that's a 5:40 minute/mile pace). This year she will be competing in the marathon on Sunday along with her team mate and training partner, Kara Goucher. She won her spot on the American marathon team in January when she won the Olympic Trials Marathon and set the event record at 2:25:38 (a 5:34 minute/mile pace). Sunday will be a very exciting day.
You may have noticed that these are all woman athletes. There are men competing in the 2012 Olympic games that I'm watching and routing for as well as other woman athletes. I wanted to keep this blog short so I limited myself to five athletes or teams to write about. It took me longer than expected to get this done. I started before the opening ceremonies but life got in the way of my ramblings. I hope you are enjoying the events as much as I am. Feel free to comment below and tell me who your favorite athletes are and what events you enjoy the most.