Dive into the Summer Olympics with these passionate players

by Julia Mendes
For four whole years, we wait in anticipation for one month of celebration, global unity, and most important competition: the Summer Olympics.
This year, the Olympic Games will be held in London, and Team USA is predicted to make as prominent an impression as it did four years ago in Beijing, where it won 110 medals, more than any other country.
Here are a few American athletes who are dedicated to bringing home the gold and the glory:

Jordyn Wieber
After an excellent performance in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the American women’s gymnastics team still reigns as one of the best in the world, with a strong new contender, 16-year-old Jordyn Wieber.  Wieber has been part of the USA National Team since 2006, and recently earned the title of all-around world champion when she competed at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo this past October.  She has won the American Cup for the third time in her career this year, being one of only two gymnasts to have ever accomplished this feat.  All-around gold medalist of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nastia Liukin, has praised Wieber for her “grace under pressure,” and for her ability to be “mentally tough and strong.”
“I think [Jordyn] is going to get at least one gold in the Olympics this summer. She’s such a role model to all young gymnasts,” said junior gymnast Alexandra Peluso.  The gymnastics women’s individual all-around final will air Aug. 2 at 11:30 a.m.
Tyson Gay
Sprinter Tyson Gay’s personal record in the 100 meters establishes him as the second fastest runner in the world, second to three-time Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt of Jamaica.  Gay remains the only runner to have beaten Bolt in the 100 meters after he set his world record of 9.58 seconds at the world championships in 2009.  Gay suffered a severe hamstring injury during the 2007 Osaka World Championships, which contributed to his failure to win a single medal at the Beijing Olympics.  However, Gay is now in good health and will travel to London this summer aiming to overtake Bolt and claim his title as the new “fastest runner in the world.”
“Tyson Gay is a true champion because he was able to come back and beat his own record despite the fact that he was injured in 2008,” said senior runner Isabel Crystal. Track and field 100-meter finals can be viewed Aug. 5 at 4:30 p.m.
Ryan Lochte
Swimmer Ryan Lochte is six-time Olympic medalist, with three gold medals, two silver, and one bronze.  As a part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay and in the 200-meter individual medley and the 400-meter individual medley.  American swimmer Michael Phelps has dominated in every swimming world championship for the past eight years, breaking world records and winning medal after medal, however, Lochte has started to out-swim Phelps since the world championships in 2009.  Lochte’s impressive accomplishments thus far in his career have been dwarfed by Phelps’ dominance, but his run at the Olympics this summer may bring him some greater recognition.
“I know Phelps and Lochte have the same motivation to win. I personally think Lochte will pull through with his races due to his hard work and dedication,” said sophomore varsity swimmer Austin Engelhardt. Mens swimming 4x 200 free relay finals can be viewed July 31 at 3:45 p.m.
Alex Morgan
Soccer player Alex Morgan burst onto the scene last year at the 2011 FIFA Womens World Cup in Germany. Morgan immediately became America’s sweetheart, as a young, talented player. In a World Cup semi-final match against France, Morgan scored her first ever World Cup goal and went on to score the first goal of the championship match against Japan.
“Alex Morgan is an inspiration to all soccer players around the world.  She led the team throughout the World Cup and will go again at the Olympics this summer in London.  She is beautiful and has great skills – every girl wants to be her,” said junior varsity soccer player Jessie Klein.
Women’s soccer gold medal match can be viewed Aug. 9 at 2:45 p.m.
Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor
Those two time defending champions of beach volleyball have returned despite setbacks. Walsh took time off from playing volleyball to have two babies, and while rehearsing for Dancing with the Stars in 2008 May-Treanor suffered an Achilles tendon injury, which took more than 18 months to heal.
Walsh and May-Treanor reunited in 2011 to achieve the number-two ranking in the world.
“They are both such talented athletes, and it’s really entertaining to watch them play because they work so well together,” said junior volleyball player Hailee Sciara.
Watch their third try at the gold medal this summer. Beach volleyball bronze medal match can be viewed Aug. 8 at 2 p.m, and the gold medal match can be viewed at 4 p.m.
The opening ceremony is July 27 at 4 p.m. The closing ceremony is Aug. 12 in the evening.