Olympians With Local Ties Hoping To Make Waves In London
With the 2012 Olympics set to start in London in only a few short hours, it might be a good time to bone up on your knowledge of Central New York’s athletes and their local ties to the biggest event in the last four years. Five of our nation’s representatives hail from the surrounding area, with entries from Cooperstown, Syracuse and Cazenovia. But, the proven track record of these men and women is ridiculous and will likely continue over the next couple of weeks.
Dana Vollmer – Vollmer is a Syracuse native participating in the women’s 4X200m Freestyle Relay and the women’s 100m Butterfly. After taking the gold as a member of the 4X200m Freestyle Relay team in the 2004 Athens Olympics, she is back and ready to cash in again.
Of course, Vollmer’s story would not be complete without hardship. In 2007, while studying at the University of Florida, she sustained back and shoulder injuries, tore her right ACL in 2001 and had an operation to fix a heart condition in 2003. Luckily, the injuries did not slow her down and she continues to be a force in the swimming pool. Look for her in the first heat of the 4X200m relay races on August 1st, and in the women’s 100m Butterfly on July 28th.
Lopez Lomong – Lomong has a connection to the area in that he attended Tully High School, where he was a star athlete in both cross-country and track. Originally one of the Lost Boys of Sudan, he was brought to the U.S., where he became a citizen in 2007.
This is Lomong’s second time at the Olympics, after he was eliminated during the semifinals for the 1500m at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He also was chosen as the flag bearer for Team USA during the opening ceremonies in 2008, because of his American spirit and pride.
Look for Lomong to be hitting his stride during the 5000m race on August 8th.
Sarah Groff – Groff, a triathlon participant living in Hanover, New Hampshire, originally lived in Cooperstown, NY. She attended high school there as well as the Deerfield Academy, then went on to study at Middlebury College where she majored in Conservation Biology and Studio Art.
In 2011, Groff ranked third in the world in the World Championship Rankings, up 13 spots from her ranking in 2010. She is making her first appearance in this year’s Olympics and will be taking to Hyde Park for the August 4th event. To follow her more extensively, catch her on Twitter (@sgroffy) for updates on her progress.
Beezie Madden – Elizabeth “Beezie” Madden, an equestrian jumper, may be the most accomplished local athlete participating in this year’s Olympics. Madden is a Cazenovia resident who owns a business with her husband, John Madden (not the one you’re thinking of). The pair train, ride and teach people how to work with horses, while also selling equipment.
This is not Madden’s first trip to the big event. She has been Team USA mainstay since 2004, helping her team win gold in both the 2004 and 2008 team jumping contests. Of course, she’s performed well on her own, too, taking the bronze in ’08 for her individual jumping.
You can catch her and her horse, Via Volo, on August 4th, participating in both the individual and team jumping competitions.
Carmelo Anthony – What kind of list would this be without Syracuse basketball’s one-season wonder? Anthony played for SU’s men’s basketball team in 2003, when the team won the NCAA tournament. Since then, ‘Melo became the star of the Denver Nuggets until he was picked up by the New York Knicks in 2011.
During his first nine years in the NBA, Anthony has amassed nearly 25 points, 6.3 rebounds and more than 36 minutes per game, but since coming to the Knicks, has had to battle critics and fans alike calling his contract overrated. A gold at the Olympics may dispel some of those rumors.
The five-time NBA All-Star joins a star-studded cast of characters, including Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, as they try to replicate their gold medal play from 2008. Led by Coach Mike Krzyzewski, you can see Team USA as they qualify from July 29th until August 6h. After that, the tournament begins.