Sports

These are just a few athletes who had remarkable performances that caught my eyes. I really wish I have a lot more free time to follow each and every event that I like to watch, which are Diving, Swimming, Volleyball, Track & Field, Gymnastics, Basketball, and a lot more actually.
This Olympic seems to be a really good start for the Americans. I watched the opening ceremony and my mind was like, “I know the U.S. athletes are going to do great in Beijing!” and so far my predictions are right. I encourage you to please leave comments and more added info regarding the main events in the Olympics cuz I know I will be missing quite a few of them. I would really appreciate it if you can do that for me and for the other readers.
I wanna thank nbcolympics.com for providing these highlights on the Olympics in Beijing!
U.S. Gymnast for 2008 Beijing Olympics

U.S. Gymnast for 2008 Beijing Olympics

Jonathan Horton

Born: December 31, 1985
Houston, TX
Hometown: Houston, TX
Residence: Norman, OK

Doing it all
Since winning the junior national title in 2003, Jonathan Horton has developed into one of the top American all-arounders. Horton won back-to-back American Cup titles in 2006 and 2007 and defeated the reigning European all-around champion, Maxsim Devyatovsky, at a duel meet in Ukraine in the spring of 2007. In September 2007, Horton finished fourth at Worlds, just missing a medal but still establishing himself as a legitimate Beijing all-around threat.

Sooner success
Horton, competing for the University of Oklahoma, has won a school-record five NCAA titles, including the 2006 all-around crown. In 2007, he won individual titles on his best events: high-bar and floor exercise.

Living for the rush
As a child, Horton often displayed fearlessness, whether it was riding an electric garage door all the way the top, climbing a pole to the ceiling at a Target store or doing back flips on his parents’ bed. Now, he’s a self-proclaimed fast driver and is into anything that “gives me a rush.” Nicknamed “X-Games,” Horton is known for his daring high bar routine and is interested in doing stunt work in the future.

From Houston to Norman
Horton was born in Texas but has lived and trained at the University of Oklahoma in Norman since 2004 and shares a house there with three of his Sooner teammates. He plans to graduate in 2008 and is majoring in business so he can one day open his own training facility.

USA Swimming

Ryan Lochte

Born: August 03, 1984
Rochester, NY
Hometown: Daytona Beach, FL
Residence: Gainesville, FL
Ht: / Wt: 6’2″ / 185 lbs
Olympics: 2004
Event(s): 200m back, 200m IM, 400m IM, 4x200m free relay

Three-for-three
Ryan Lochte qualified for three individual events in Beijing, finishing second in all three at Olympic Trials. First, Michael Phelps beat him out in the 400m IM, and both men finished under the previous world record. Later in the week, Aaron Peirsol tied Lochte’s world record in the 200m back, with Lochte behind by .02 of a second. About 20 minutes later, in an unbelievably grueling double, Lochte returned to the pool to face Phelps, who lowered his own world record in the 200m IM to hold off Lochte. “There’s a lot of different points in the race I could have changed to win,” Lochte said at Trials. “So that’s what I’m going to do. Beijing is going to be a lot different.”

Sick of second
Lochte’s big breakthrough came at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, when he upset teammate Aaron Peirsol in the 200m backstroke, taking the world record and winning his only individual gold medal of the meet. Lochte finished second to Peirsol in the 100m backstroke and to Michael Phelps in the 200m and 400m IM, with Peirsol and Phelps setting their own world records in each of the three races. Lochte also won gold and set a world record, with the 4×200 freestyle relay, raising his medal total to two golds and three silvers.

Photos

Bringing the bling
Lochte also made waves out of the pool at the Worlds by wearing a silver and diamond grill (a dental accessory usually worn by rappers) on the medal stand to collect his silver for the 200m IM. Lochte said he brought the grill to Melbourne and his roommate, Cullen Jones, suggested he wear it if he won a medal. When he came out, Lochte couldn’t stop laughing, because gold medalist Michael Phelps was laughing at him.

Olympic breakout
Lochte won a silver in Athens in the 200m IM, behind Phelps, and a gold in the 4×200 free relay. He says that race, where the Americans edged out the Australians, was the first time he got noticed in the swimming world. Before the Olympics, his only international experience was at the 2003 Pan Am Games, where he also won gold in the 4×200 free relay. Apart from winning a gold medal, Lochte’s favorite part about Athens was the all-you-can-eat McDonald’s in the athlete village. “That was probably the best thing ever,” Lochte said. “I hope they have that again.”

Ryan Lochte sported his 'grills' on the medal stand at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.

Getty Images
Ryan Lochte sported his ‘grills’ on the medal stand at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.

Racing switch
Though he has a reputation for being laid back, Lochte has a competitive streak and holds nothing back when he gets behind the blocks. “When the starter goes off, I don’t know, something switches and I become a racer,” Lochte said. “And when I get out, I’m laid-back Ryan.” But don’t be fooled by his demeanor: Lochte hates to lose.

Cold start
When Lochte was three, and living in upstate New York, he was playing on an icy pool deck at Monroe Community College and fell in. His father quickly rescued him, but the story goes that Ryan was laughing, not crying, and at that point they knew he’d be a natural. His family moved from Bristol, N.Y., to Florida when Ryan was 12. His father, Steve, was his first coach at the Daytona Beach Swim Club.

Going with the flow
Lochte says he doesn’t pay attention to being mentioned alongside Phelps and Peirsol as being among the best in the world and has a relaxed approach when it comes to competition. “I guess people, when they race against Michael Phelps or Aaron Peirsol, they’re not racing to win, they’re racing to get second,” Lochte said. “I don’t think that. I always feel like I can win.”

USA Diving

David Boudia

Born: April 24, 1989
Abilene, TX
Hometown: Noblesville, IN
Residence: Noblesville, IN
Ht: / Wt: 5’8″ / 155 lbs
Event(s): 10m platform, 10m synchro

Platform contender
Texas native David Boudia will make his Olympic debut in Beijing, earning the spot by winning platform at the U.S. Diving Olympic Trials. Boudia started the meet with a 65-point bonus, earned for his third-place finish at the 2008 World Cup, and led from the first dive. The only threat throughout the competition was Boudia’s synchro partner, Thomas Finchum, but Boudia held him off with a string of 10s in the final. Boudia and Finchum are the leading contenders for the platform synchro spot, which will be decided at a selection camp in early July.

David Boudia took bronze in platform at the Beijing World Cup in February, where the field featured most of the Olympic contenders.

Associated Press
David Boudia took bronze in platform at the Beijing World Cup in February, where the field featured most of the Olympic contenders.

‘Not robots’
Boudia and Finchum finished third at the 2007 World Championships in the synchro event. They each had disappointing individual performances, but after beating the Chinese pair in prelims, realized that the Chinese are “beatable, not robots.” Boudia said the medal was a big accomplishment that gave them confidence and motivation. Boudia and Finchum figure to be the best hopes for a U.S. diving medal. And Boudia’s bronze at the World Cup in Beijing in February puts him in good position in the individual event as well.

Finding diving
After getting his start in gymnastics, Boudia was looking for another sport and tried diving when he went for free lessons with a friend. He did both soccer and diving for a while, but it wasn’t long until diving took over. He now trains 30 hours a week at the national training center in Indianapolis, waking at 6:20 every morning for 7:30 practice.

Friends and rivals
Though they are partners in synchro, Boudia and Finchum are competitors as well. They have contests in practice and push each other to be better. Despite sometimes fighting “like brothers, over nothing,” they root for each other. “I’m happy that he wins and I know he’s happy when I win,” Boudia says. They each want to win, and beat each other, but they don’t let it affect their friendship.

Future plans
Boudia, who has been home schooled since his junior year of high school, will attend Purdue University this fall. He has not turned pro and will dive for Purdue, which is located about an hour away from Indianapolis.

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