My Fav Five Female Olympic Winners #London 2013
(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
As fans watched the playoff games pulling for their favorite team, sitting court side next to celebrities such as Lil Wayne (@liltunechi) in Miami, Jack Nicholson (@J_J_Nicholson) in Los Angeles, and Spike Lee (@Spike Lee) in New York was Chairman of USA Basketball Mike Colangelo who could have cared less about the highlight dunks or the final score once the buzzer sounded.
Although Mike Colangelo is a basketball purist and self-admitted fan his reasoning for attending games is to NOT watch a team but to BUILD a team who will win gold in the London Olympics. At the start of the NBA season there were several players who appeared to be locks to suit up for TEAM USA in the summer, but after NBA season filled with injuries and season ending surgeries the selection process is now riddled with uncertainty.
Due to injuries, father time, and late season fatigue the following players are likely to pass on playing in the Olympics:
- Kobe Bryant – Reports indicate that he is in Germany receiving treatment on his right knee and also in the process of reconciling with his wife. It is possible ALTHOUGH UNLIKELY that the Black Mamba will rest to gear up for another run at NBA Title.
- Derrick Rose – After tearing his ACL in the first round of the playoffs, he is done for entire season
Dwayne Wade – Despite his play in the postseason it obvious that ‘Flash’ is playing on bad knee This aging star will certainly need some time to rest to get back to full health
- Dwight Howard – After having surgery on his back to repair a herniated disk Superman will need the use the summer to recover from offseason surgery
The players listed above were locks to log major minutes for TEAM USA in London and it is still possible that several players will take a rain check choosing to rest instead of risking injury and time away from their family. Despite the absence of several prominent NBA stars I believe that Mike Colangelo will be able to build a formidable team that will win gold. But the question is who will be on that team? And will the players accept their role? Here is my projection: (starters *)
PG: C. Paul / *D. Williams / R. Rondo SG: *K. Bryant / J. Harden
SF: *L. James *K. Durant / C. Anthony PF: K. Love / L. Aldridge C: *T. Chandler
At season’s end the real questions begin, the opportunity to represent your country is an honor no one should ever take lightly.However, at the end of the day the ultimate question each of these players will have to ask is: Where does your allegiance lie – Your Country? Your Franchise? or Yourself and family? Stay tuned…I know I will – A. Denmark(@eatdrnkslpsprtz)
For nearly ten years Serena Williams has dominated women’s tennis and it appears that her reign maybe coming to an end. Although no one will ever dispute the talent and ability of Serena Williams, despite their numerous Wimbledon and US Open Championships their commitment to the game has always been a hot topic. Unlike her peers on the tour, Serena Williams has often taken long layoffs from the court choosing to focus on her fashion and handbag clothing line instead of training.
Several pundits believe that her lack of commitment is a blatant show of disrespect to the game due to her possessing the ability to be the most dominant women’s tennis player of all time. For years Serena silenced critics who questioned her effort by collecting consecutive major championships (US Open, Wimbledon, French Open) without breaking much of a sweat but earlier this week her poor conditioning finally caught up with her. In this years French Open Serena received a huge reality check when she was eliminated in the first round for the first time ever in her professional tennis career.
Her performance on the court was an abysmal display of a poorly conditioned athlete whose ego finally got the best of her, she was thoroughly dominated by an opponent who was immediately dismissed in the second round in straight sets.
Throughout her career the game of tennis has come so easy to Serena, but for greatness to be attained her commitment and dedication to the game must change. I don’t recall anyone ever questioning Billie Jean King or Michael Jordan’s effort do you? However, there is hope, Serena has responded to embarrassing losses with a strong resolve in the past. For example, after taking a year off due to a blood clot in her lungs she returned to the court to win the Madrid Open thoroughly dominating the number one ranked tennis player in the world.
Serena Williams has four weeks to get in shape and prepare herself for Wimbledon. If she wishes to reclaim her title it is critical that she makes tennis a priority and not be distracted by her clothing line and cameo acting opportunities on shows like the Game and Single Ladies.
Ex- NBA player, Shawn Kemp possessed Hall-of-Fame talent but due to his ego and bad work ethic he ate himself out of the league. Will Serena continue to let poor conditioning and bad habits be her downfall? She broke up with longtime boyfriend Common to refocus on tennis, will she cut out the other distractions to get back on top? Stay tuned, I know I will – A. Denmark (@eatdrnkslpsprtz)
Championship, Health, or Olympic Gold: The Decision NBA’s Premiere Players Will Have to Make this Offseason
With the NBA season wrapping up in two short weeks all NBA fans will begin to turn their attention toward the upcoming NBA Playoffs holding out high hopes that their favorite players beat the injury bug and lead their team to an NBA Championship. However, lost in the euphoria of the player’s quest for that NBA Finals moment is the big decision many of the NBA’s biggest stars are going to have to make. Ultimately, several All-NBA players will have to decide what is more important, joining your fellow countrymen in pursuit of a gold medal in the London Olympics or try your hand at hoisting an NBA Finals Championship Trophy.
Although the Olympics is not on the mind of many NBA fans, once the season ends and a champion is crowned everyone will turn their attention to who will be on the Olympic Dream Team in London. Players who decline will have their loyalty and patriotism quested with very little thought given to the tough rigors of a compacted NBA season where players barely had time to practice more less rest.
The rigors of a shortened NBA season have certainly taken its toll on the NBA’s most premiere players:
- Kobe Bryant’s shin (USA)
- Dwight Howard’s back (USA)
- Derrick Rose’s EVERYTHING (USA)
- Dwayne Wade’s (@Dwayne Wade) ankle and attitude (USA)
- Tyson Chandler’s knee and right arm (USA)
- Amare Stoudemire’s back (USA)
- Marc Gasol’s hyper extended knee (Spain)
- Rudy Fernandez’s knee (Spain)
- Andrew Bogut’s arm and shoulder (Australia)
- Ricky Rubio’s knee (Spain)
The availability of all the players mentioned above will impact their National Team and their quest for the Gold Medal in London. Although it is likely that Spain and the United States will still battle for gold their journey has gotten significantly harder with the injuries of key players above.
Although Jerry Colangelo is responsible for selecting the TEAM USA the injury bug and a tough NBA season will eliminate several prominent players who many would have been considered locks. Here are some questions our American NBA All-Stars are going to have to answer:
- At 34 years old, does Kobe Bryant choose to rest this summer and get healthy or does he risk further injury and fatigue to his body by playing in the Olympics?
- Does Dwight Howard risk further injury to his back and accept an invitation to the Olympic team despite the fact that he is going into a contract year in the NBA?
- Does Derrick Rose, reigning NBA MVP attempt to play in the Olympics despite the fact that his body is nearly falling apart?
- How many players not injured decline an invitation to the Olympic team choosing to rest and spend time with family instead?
PF – Kevin Love C – Andrew Bynum
Although the NBA regular season has had its compelling moments I believe the playoffs and the offseason will be more exciting.At the end of the NBA season we will soon find ou what matters most – representing your country or getting healthy for the next NBA season. – A. Denmark (@Eatdrnkslsprtz)
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