The London 2012 Olympics are in full swing, and even once they are over, they will be talked about for years to come. Keep reading to learn more about our three favorite athletes and their road to greatness...and that podium!
The Olympics are a time when the world comes together and watches the best each country has to offer in way of athletic ability, inspirational stories of overcoming some of the most difficult stumbling blocks and, of course...pure awesome entertainment for all! We have three athletes we haven't previously featured that we think are worth watching, for more than just wins!
A favorite of ours since before the games began, Lochte surpasses his competition with drive, hard work and a whole lotta weight lifting! From chains to 800 lb. tires, Lochte has lifted, sprinted and soared past the workout regimens of his competition. Hailing from New York, Lochte’s father was a swimming coach, setting Ryan up as a swimmer in his youth. Lochte attended the University of Florida and qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 2004. He swam with Klete Keller, Peter Vanderkaay and a certain swimmer named Michael Phelps to capture gold in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. He also won the silver medal in the 200 meter individual medley (Phelps took the gold).
In Beijing in 2008, Lochte won two gold and two bronze medals, setting world records in the 200 meter backstroke and 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. Those bronze medals weren’t enough for Lochte, however. He intended on coming back to London 2012 as a rivaled contender, and he has made the most of his time away from the Olympic pool. His last four years of training not only intimidates the competition, but also made his body harder and stronger. GO LOCHTE! He isn't exactly hard on the eyes, either, ladies.
At just 17, (born May 10, 1995) Missy Franklin scored her first gold medal in the 100 meter backstroke this week after edging out Australian Emily Seebohm. She has a packed schedule of events in London, and is set to score more medals this Olympic season.
Missy remains in her hometown in Colorado despite pressures to move to a coastal city in California or Florida. She gains strength and inspiration from her family and friends and is still in high school, after all. Missy fits in 6 or 7 workouts a week; she swims between 5k - 6k a day for 2 to 4 hours in training. While many athletes accept any sponsorship deal that is thrown in their direction, Franklin remains an amateur athlete despite being offered over $250,000 in sponsorships. Accepting such offers now would mean Franklin was a professional in the eyes on the NCAA and she would therefore be ineligible to complete at the collegiate level. Swimming at college means the world to her, more than any amount of money or sponsorship, and she isn't willing to change her life goals and traditional values for a deal offered to her during this time. At the end of the day, she is a goofy (yet talented and hardworking) teenager with a heart of gold...and a medal to match it.
Born in 1995 like Missy Franklin, Wieber is the anchor of the U.S. women's gymnastic team, professional as of October 2011. However, the national champ didn’t earn a spot in the finals after falling short on the balance beam, bars, vault and floor exercises to fellow teammates Gabby Douglas and Aly Raisman. After missing the cut for the women's individual all-around final, people were fuming over the results. Despite being the reigning world champion, her score landed her in fourth place, and countries are limited to only two gymnasts for the finals. Although she shed tears, Wieber graciously applauded the efforts of her teammates.
She said, "It was hard because of course I wanted that spot, but I also wanted Aly to do her best also for the team and for herself. It's always been a dream of mine to compete in the all around at the Olympics and shoot for that gold medal. I'm really proud of Aly and Gabby both and I'm happy that they both made it to the all-around and I'm glad that I'll be able to help the team out in team finals." Now that is what we call a leader...and a real class act.
What do you know about Olympian Abby Wambach of women's soccer? Read more here!