The United States is sending 530 athletes to London for the
2012 Olympic Games—and more than half of the athletes are female. While GL will
be following all of the athletes from now through the closing ceremony on
August 12, we’ve got our eyes on all the youngin’s going for gold. Here are nine
young women we think will take London by storm.
Missy Franklin – Swimming
Seventeen-year-old Missy had just about as good an Olympic
trials as a girl could hope for. She qualified for seven events—the 100m and
200m freestyle, 100m and 200m backstroke, 400m freestyle relay, 800m freestyle
relay and the 400m medley relay. It’s
the greatest number of swim events an American woman has ever qualified for.
Reed Kessler – Show Jumping
Reed’s trainer has been talking about her going to the
Olympics since she was 13. For a girl who just
turned 18—and just became eligible to jump Olympic-height jumps, which clock in
at over 5 feet this year—that’s some big talk. Reed is the youngest equestrian
to compete in the Olympics ever, and
if you had asked her teammates if she had the potential six months ago, they
probably would have been iffy. And then she went into the trials and won,
beating a ring full of veterans.
Gabrielle Douglas – Gymnastics
The week before trials, gymnastics aficionados had already
put Gabby Douglas on the Olympic team, a step behind world champ Jordyn Wieber.
And after the first day of competition, it looked like the status quo would
hold…until Gabby knocked out a stellar day two and seized the win—and the
automatic bid to London. We’re not sure what we love about her more: her
gorgeous smile, her grace or her nickname, “the Flying Squirrel.”
Photo by John Cheng for USA Gymnastics
Kayla Harrison – Judo
Two years ago, Kayla won the judo world championship. She
was the first American woman to do so in 46 years. Now, she has her sights set
on Olympic gold. It’s her final goal in the sport, and if she accomplishes it,
she says she’ll probably retire and move on to other things, like going to
college and possibly teaching. One more thing: She’s a Harry Potter nerd. Yes!
Lee Kiefer – Fencing
Lee hated fencing when she started at age 5 in her parents’
dining room. But she stuck with it and now the 17-year-old is one of the sport’s
rising stars. Now that she’s graduated from high school (and attended prom,
natch), she’s focused on London. And while she wants a medal more than
anything, she’s realistic about her chances, telling ESPN she expects that to come in 2016, when she has more
experience. Still, we can’t wait to watch her fight it out in the next few
Photo courtesy USA Fencing
Jordyn Wieber - Gymnastics
For the last few months, world champion gymnast Jordyn
Wieber has been everywhere promoting her sport. She’s even on cereal boxes. At
17, Jordyn is cool as a cucumber under pressure—something U.S. Gymnastics Team
Coordinator Marta Karolyi loves about her.
Sarah Scherer – Shooting
Air rifle master Sarah, 21, has been the queen of NCAA
shooting for most of her college career. She’s won national titles, but this
will be her first Olympics. And to beat her veteran competitors, nothing less
than perfect will do.
Aly Raisman – Gymnastics
Like her peers, Aly is a full-time gymnast, clocking 35
hours a week of practice time. But unlike some of her teammates, Aly can claim
nearly 16 years of experience. She first stepped on the mat when she was 18
months old. It’s all been leading up to this point, she says.
Marlen Esparza – Boxing
Right now, Marlen says, her life is 100-percent boxing. She
promises that the Olympic Games, where she’ll compete in a sport that’s been
dominated by guys for most of its history. She’s here to tell ya that’s all
about to change. She is the first U.S. amateur boxer to sign an endorsement
deal with CoverGirl, and as she told the L.A.
Times, "When I get ready for a fight, it's kind of like I'm
getting ready for a date. I take a shower. Perfume. I shave. I fix my hair….We
don’t have to look like men to fight like men.”
Photo courtesy of CoverGirl
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 7/12/2012 5:08:00 PM
POSTED IN athlete, sports, water sports, gymnastics, olympics, London 2012