(By: Jonquil R Flowers aka no1swimmerj)
I am still on cloud 9 after watching the 2012 Summer Olympic Games that were just recently held in London! It was two weeks packed with great athletic competition. Not only did we see the best athletes in the world compete, we were given insight to many of their personal life stories. As I reflect on the excitement of the 2012 Olympic Games, I have come up with my fave five females; five female Olympians whose athletic performance inspired me.
#5 Lia Neal – Swimming
Although 17 year old Lia Neal did not qualify for the Olympic team in the 100 meter Olympic Trials she played a key role as a member of the US women’s 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay team with Missy Franklin, Allison Schmitt, & Jessica Hardy. They came in third place behind Australia and the Netherlands with a time of 3:34.24, which set an American record. Neal, a Brooklyn native, had an amazing swim in London and will be a force to be reckoned with in Rio.
#4 Claressa Shields – Boxing
For the first time in the London Olympic Games women were able to challenge for gold in boxing. Clarissa Shields, a 17 year old from Flint, Michigan, became the first woman boxer to represent the US in the Olympics. On top of that, she is the first woman boxer to win gold!
#3 Destinee Hooker – Volleyball
Destinee Hooker at 6ft 4 in tall won four consecutive NCAA Championships in the high jump at the University of Texas while also earning All-American honors in indoor volleyball. In 2008, she joined the US women’s national volleyball team. Destinee is an opposite attacker and is often seen serving, blocking, and spiking the ball. After watching several Olympic volleyball matches, I would move out of the way if Destinee ever sent a ball over my way. She was the second overall scorer in the Olympic tournament where she, along with her teammates, won the silver medal for the United States.
#2 Allyson Felix – Track & Field
Fast! That’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of Allyson Felix. But, not only is she fast; she is also graceful. She makes sprints look so easy when many other runners look so tense. Allyson is from southern California, where her love for track began. After high school, she went pro and also got her degree in Elementary Education from USC. She competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, where it seemed the gold medal eluded her in her best event, the 200 meter sprint. However, 2012 was truly Allyson Felix’s year winning 3 gold medals in London. She finally won gold in the 200 meter race with a time of 21.88 sec. She also ran the 4 x 400 meter and the 4 x 100 meter relay which was arguably one of the most exciting races of all of track and field events. She, along with Tianna Madison, Bianca Knight, and Carmelita Jeter, set a new world record as they upset the Jamaican relay team in their quest for gold. This was Allyson third Olympic games. I have never heard of such longevity for sprinters, but she says we can expect to see her in Rio.
Gabrielle Douglas – Gymnastics
Yep! You guessed it! My absolute favorite female athlete of the 2012 Summer Olympics was Gabby Douglas. This young lady has such a heart filled story. This 16 year old had every bit of focus and poise needed to be successful in London. She was able to slip under the radar of super high expectations and earn a spot to on the US gymnastics national team. She helped the US Women’s Team win gold in the team competition, which had not been done since the “Magnificent Seven” at the 1996 games. Then, she shocked the world and won gold in the Individual All-Around. Wow! While some were commenting on how her hair looked during the competition, she was taking care of business. She is an awesome athlete and beautiful young lady.
These were my fave five! But, I have to give a shout out to Carmelita Jeter (track & field), Sonya Richards-Ross (track & field), Serena Williams (tennis), Candace Parker (basketball), and the list goes on… These women were great in London! It’s a long four years away, but I can’t wait to see what Rio will bring! “Stay tuned… I know I will!” – J. Flowers